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Practical Application: Conducting Productive Meetings at Work

Instructor: Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

This scenario will describe a situation in which a productive meeting needs to be designed. We'll watch as a supervisor tackles the challenge of determining a meeting agenda, deciding who to invite and other important tasks and evaluate their decisions.

Creating Productive Meetings

Creating a productive meeting is essential to having a business run smoothly. The lesson Preparing, Conducting, and Contributing to Productive Meetings provides more in-depth information about elements of a productive meeting.

What are the specific steps needed to make a productive meeting happen? We've all been in meetings that don't accomplish their objectives, so how do we, as supervisors, make sure every meeting is a grand slam? Today, we're going to be looking at an example of how to carry out this exact process.

Scenario: Maria's Sales Team

Maria is the team leader for her regional sales team. After speaking with her supervisor, it's clear that sales are down this quarter and they expect Maria to do something about it. Feeling the pressure, Maria decides she needs to sit down with her team and have a meeting about the problem. She wants to discuss what went wrong and try to brainstorm ideas to improve sales for the next quarter.

But where should Maria start? She knows she can't just call them all into the conference room and blow up about the sales. She needs to stay calm and use rational thinking to design a productive meeting.

1. Determine the Objectives

First, Maria decides to put together an agenda for the meeting. She considers reviewing old business that is outstanding at the beginning of the meeting. Since this meeting has a very specific purpose, she decides to skip this step and jump right into the content. Next, Maria needs to decide on the objectives for the meeting. She wants to keep everything objective and professional, even though she is personally upset about not meeting their sales goals.

What do you think Maria's objectives should be? Write down between 1-3 objectives for the sales review meeting.

2. Decide Who Will Attend

Maria next needs to decide who will attend the meeting. Who do you think Maria should invite? What invested parties might benefit from a group conversation about the issue and who could contribute solutions to the problem? Make a list of any departments or individual roles you think should attend.

3. Design an Agenda

Now that Maria knows who will attend and what her goals are, she needs to draft an agenda. An agenda includes how much time will be spent on each item. Usually, agendas start with some type of ice breaker or introduction and then move into the meat of the meeting.

How do you think Maria should structure her agenda? Start with an introduction and then create an agenda that would meet Maria's objectives. Be sure to include time constraints for each item on the agenda.

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