Wk 10 - Meetings
1. Types of Meetings
Business meetings may be formal, such as a board meeting attended by the chairman and
directors of a company, a shareholders meeting at which the chairman of a company is in
charge, or informal, attended by a few managers and their assistants.
All types of meeting have a chairman and a secretary to take notes of decisions arrived at
during the meeting. These notes are typed out and copies distributed to those who attended
the meeting in the form of ‘minutes’
2. Minutes are a record of what was decided at a meeting. They are usually kept in a
Minute Book and signed by the chairperson of the committee at the next meeting.
Copies of the minutes are circulated to committee members after each meeting. It is the
secretary’s job to make notes of what has been decided during a meeting and then type (or
write) them out as soon as possible after the meeting.
The topics for a committee to discuss are set out beforehand in the form of an agenda, which
is sent to committee members about a fortnight before each meeting by the secretary,
together with the date, time and place of the next meeting. The secretary and the chairman
(‘chairperson’) discuss the agenda beforehand and agree on the items to be listed in the
An agenda is set out in the following order:
1. Apologies for absence
2. Minutes of the last meeting
3. Matters arising from the minutes*
4. Correspondence (if this applies)
5. Other matters to be discussed
6. Any other business**
7. Date, time and place of next meeting
*Matters arising refer to the report of the latest action taken as a result of decisions made
at the last meeting.
**This allows any matters not on the agenda to be discussed but they should be only of
3. The Chairman
The Chairman (sometimes called a ‘chairperson’ or ‘chairwomen’)
The role of the chairman of a meeting is very important as he is there not only to prevent
time-wasting arguments and irrelevant discussions, but to ensure that items on the agenda
are taken in their proper order.
He may take part in discussions but has to stay strictly impartial, although he has a casting
vote if he wishes to use it.
Speakers are obliged to address the chair, and if the chairman intervenes, the speaker must at
once stop speaking. A chairman has to be able to control people in a tactful manner.
4. The Treasurer
The treasurer of a society looks after the financial side, and prepares a report for each
meeting which shows how money is being spent. For an AGM (Annual General Meeting), a
balance sheet is circulated.
5. The Secretary’s role:
Well before a meeting the following must be done:
Room booked for the length of time the meeting is expected to take.
Notice of meeting and agenda.
Copies of the minutes of the previous meeting (if any) circulated.
Refreshments arranged (if likely to be needed).
Cards with names of committee members (if appropriate) prepared.
Chairman’s agenda (if appropriate)
Attendance register (if appropriate) prepared.
Visual aids (flip charts, overhead projector, screen) booked if required.
Immediately before a meeting:
Telephone calls re-routed and arrangements made for personal callers to be seen by
Notice on door: MEETING – PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB.
Supplies of plain paper and pencils around the table on which committee members
may take notes.
Water, tumblers to be available..
During a meeting:
The secretary takes apologies for absence (if any) and circulates the attendance
The secretary takes notes of the decisions which are reached together with names of
people involved in them.
After the meeting:
Files, documents, minute book, attendance register and name cards are collected
together and removed.
Any rough notes are consigned to the wastepaper bin (some may be confidential so
should be shredded or torn into small pieces).
Notice removed from the outside of the door.
Room left tidy; cups, tumblers, plates, removed. Chairs should be removed if
Note: In most organisations, there will be a member of staff or department responsible for
booking rooms and arranging meetings.
6. Terms used in connection with meetings
Below is a selection of most commonly used meeting terms.
Ad hoc committee - a special purpose committee.
Adjournment - postponement of completion of business or meeting.
Amendment - An alteration to a motion.
Ballot - A secret vote.
Co-option- An invitation to someone to serve on a committee because of specialist
Ex officio- ‘by virtue of office’ – an ex officio member is entitled to sit on a committee
because of another position he or she holds.
Hon sec - Honorary secretary – an unpaid secretary.
Joint committee - Co-ordination of two or more committees.
Lie on the table - A motion that a particular matter should ‘lie on the table’ means that it
discussed and finalized at a later date.
Motion - A proposal put forward at a meeting. The mover of the motion is called the
‘proposer and the supporter is called the ‘seconder’.
Nem. con. - Means ‘no one dissenting’, i.e. no votes are cast against a motion although
some members may have abstained from voting.
Proxy - someone may be appointed to vote on behalf of absent member, subject to
Quorum - The minimum number of members who must be present at a meeting to make
it valid, as laid down in the regulations of the organisation.
Rider - An addition to a resolution after it has been passed. It adds to, not alters the sense
of, a resolution.
Teller - Person who counts votes at a meeting.
7. Visual Aids in The Office
Statistical information is much more clearly understood when illustrated on a graph, chart or
whiteboard than when it is given in printed form. Visual control systems enable progress and
situations to be observed and controlled systematically and efficiently, and they are even
capable of indicating current trends and future requirements. The information is clearly
displayed so that the observer can digest facts and figures at a quick glance.
7.1 Charts and Graphs
There are many different ways of presenting information – one of them is by speaking (telling
people some facts) – and there are many different ways of acquiring information (hearing,
seeing, touching, tasting and smelling).
Seeing something usually has a more lasting impact than hearing the same thing described.
Therefore, if information is important to a large number of people, it is better to present it to
them where they can see it than simply to tell them.
Visual aids are widely used in offices to support written and oral presentations. Charts and
graphs are a commonly used type of visual aid.
7.2 Line Graphs
Line graphs can be used to show almost any kind of statistical information concerning, for
instance, sales, purchases, gross profits, net profits, imports and exports, average prices,
mark-up, margin figures, working capital and wage fluctuations. The graph should be drawn
on as large a scale as the paper will allow, and the divisions should usually represent units of
multiples of five.
7.3 Bar Graphs
Bar graphs are also an effective means of displaying information and are similar in many
respects to the line graphs, except that individual bards instead of continuous lines are used
for each week or month. Bar graphs are more suitable for illustrating and contrasting figures
for short periods; for example, in monthly statistics for a six-month period.
7.4 Pie Charts
Pie charts are often used to illustrate relative quantities, proportions or percentages. A pie
chart gets its name because a circle is used as the basic shape and the circle is divided up into
segments which show the relative sizes of things to each other.
Whereas a tabulation or line chart, bar chart or line graph can show information at a glance, a
pie chart shows information at one stage only. A pie chart is another method sometimes
used to display information in magazines and posters.
7.5 Year Planners
One type of chart in common use is a year planner, which incorporates the weeks and months
of the year, usually along the top of the chart, with spaces down the side of the chart.
One of the uses to which such a chart is put is planning staff holiday weeks. Other uses could
be for training, conferences, exhibitions, room reservations in hotels and guest houses,
representatives’ and service engineers’ engagements.
Secretarial Duties – John Harrison
Tomorrow’s Secretary – R C Corish
Office Skills – Margaret Horsfall