   Meetings are generally defined negatively:
   They „sow but do not reap‟; „a camel is a
    horse designed by a committee‟ etc.
   But a meeting is a gathering of two or more
    people where purposive discourse occurs
   The purpose of the meeting may be formal
    (clear, planned) or informal (unplanned,
 Casual or informal groups may meet for
  social purposes or to interact
  spontaneously, without plan.
 For example, meeting friends over lunch
  or office colleagues after work.
 Informal meetings may give rise to need
  for structured, planned meetings.
 Formal groups are also called task-
  oriented groups.
 They search for answers to problems,
  make recommendations to a higher
 They meet to change policy and decide
  on implementing decisions
 Groups are formed due to strong
  interpersonal likes or preferences
 There are four stages in formation of
 Forming: it is the orientation phase where
  the group is started
 Storming: members begin to stake out
  their positions, conflicts and arguments
  may arise
 Norming: Members work to solve
  conflicts and recognize acceptable
  kinds of conduct
 Performing: here the group begins to
  achieve its goal
 Such groups follow certain phases in
  solving problems
 Orientation: the initial process of free-
  flowing discussions where questions are
  raised and information is exchanged.
 the members‟ convictions are tentative
  and ambiguous here
 Conflict: when members begin to offer
  opinions, conflicts may occur
 Emergence: in this phase the open
  exchanges of views continue and
  compromises occur
 There is a sincere effort to decrease
  conflict and differences in opinion
 Solutions: options have been discussed
  and criteria for measuring those options
  have been viewed.
 Now it is the time to complete the task
  and agree upon a solution
 Meetings have two main purposes:
 To present information
 To help solve problems
 There are three types of meetings:
 Informational meetings
 Suggested solution meetings
 Problem- solving meetings
 Informational meetings:
 help the members learn, ask questions
  and seek understanding of issues and to
  get information e.g.
 Report on company‟s strategic plans for
  the next fiscal year
 Announcement of the new mission
   Suggested solution meetings:
   are held for exploring options and recommendations
    about solving problems
   The scenario comprises of following steps:
   A supervisor senses a problem and calls for a meeting
    to explore options to solve the problem
   Email or memo asks staff for possible options to
    remove the problem
   Suggestions are tabulated and circulated to all
   A meeting is called to discuss all possible options
 Problem-solving meetings:
 Problem, solution, benefit, action: this is
  how problems are solved in business
 In first step the major problem is
  presented early in meeting
 Then participants suggest solutions,
  discussing and evaluating them
 Participants arrive at a decision for
  further action
 Methods of solving problems in meetings:
 State the Problem or Question in an
  Affirmative tone
 Define and Limit the Problem by
  definitions of the terms used e.g. what do
  you mean by „personnel‟ and who do
  they include in terms of your question?
 Collect facts on the History of the
 How long the problem has existed?
 Describe the symptoms, causes and
  effects of the problem?
 How do other companies handle the
   Establish Criteria: fairness, workability,
    acceptability, positive consequences,
    favorable costs, number of people
    impacted, and return on investment
   For example, criteria for alternative energy:
   The solution should have little impact on the
    earnings per share
   The supply of energy must be adequate
    (favorable) for the future
 List Possible Solutions:
 brainstorm and make a list of the
  possible solutions
 The list of solutions should be shortened
  according to the criteria decided upon
 Solutions evaluated in light of specific
 pros and cons of the solutions should be
 The reasons for choosing the solution
  discussed for example,
 What will be the consequences of
  adopting one of the tentative solutions?
   Choice of action: Recommendation for
    action is given at the end. Hence
   Background analysis
   Solution discovery
   Solution evaluation
   Choice of action
    All meetings have some kind of opening
    analysis, spend considerable time reviewing
    options, and end with recommendation
 One must know the various leadership
  styles in order to lead a group through
  the intricate process of resolving an issue
 The three main styles of leadership are as
 Authoritarian: shows contempt for others,
  dominates the discussion, issues orders
  and commands
 Leaderless: the leader delegates all
  direction and decision making steps to
 This style is about shared leadership,
  allowing high-ability people to run the
 But there is need for guidance to arrive
  at decisions
 Democratic or participative: this style
  encourages all points of view to be
 The group has the final authority
 Productive group discussions are
  encouraged, minority opinions heard
 unsupported generalizations evaluated,
  and vague statements are clarified
 As a group leader you should consider
  the following planning steps before a
 Review the problem and determine the
  precise purpose
 It should be written in the infinitive:
 For example: to decide whether the
  regional office should be shifted to
 Decide who should participate
 Ideally a small group of 3 to 5 people is
  more harmonious and effective
 Often a small group drafts some
  preliminary information and lays out
  some options before going to a larger
 Arrange for meeting date, time and
 Be exact about time and date
 Avoid Friday afternoon. Generally
  Tuesday to Thursday are desirable
 Be precise as to location.
 Inform beforehand about any changes
  in location
 Create an agenda
 The questions to be asked in the meeting
  can be categorized as:
 Fact questions: the five Ws and an H
 Value questions: For example, about
  fairness or unfairness of a policy
 Policy or Procedure questions: for
  example What measures to take? Who
  should carry out the decision?
 Distribute the announcement for the
 You should send out the announcement
  for the meeting
 Agenda items can serve as a major
  portion of the call to the meeting
 Check on physical arrangements
 Select the seating pattern
 Determine what kind of materials are
  needed in the room
 Have available the usual electronic
  visual aids
 Begin with an opening statement:
 State the problem
 Indicate importance of problem
 Suggest issues
 Use a quotation
 State cause for discussion
 Stimulate Discussion
 By encouraging all to participate and
  eliciting their views
 Asking questions
 Get the participants to analyze their own
  thinking and that of others
 Keep an atmosphere of goodwill and
 Understand the roles of the participants
 Group task roles: these roles can be
  played by anyone, even the chairperson
 Group task roles: Initiator-contributor,
  Coordinator, information seeking,
  opinion seeker, opinion giver, energizer
 Group Building and Maintenance Roles:
  these roles demand a group-centered
 Encourager, Harmonizer, group observer,
  compromiser etc.
 “Individual” Roles: the emphasis here is
  on self-oriented roles
 The roles are: Aggressor, Blocker,
  Dominator, recognition seeker etc.
 Interpret Data for Solution Evaluation
 evaluate the advantages and
 State the Major Conclusions and Plan of
  Action and individual responsible for
  each action
 Indicate the due date
 Follow up after the meeting through
  minutes and the paper trail
 The Reticent, Nonparticipating member:
  ask him questions, encourage him to
  give some information he is sure to know,
  thank and praise him
 The “Know-it-all”: ask him to justify every
  statement he makes, ask others to
  comment, ask for a show of hands from
  others to support majority opinion
   The Long- winded Speaker: Thank him
    politely when he is at the end of a
    sentence, and move to someone else or
    to some highly important point
 The Erroneous Member: Politely correct
  this person‟s error by pointing out
  something about the group but do not
  criticize him directly
 The Angry Conferee: turn off the angry,
  abusive conferee by a calm
  understanding, direct the question to
  another conferee
   Prepare for meetings by doing your
    homework, collecting information,
    checking your data, and confirming your
 Organizer: meetings often move without
  direction, an organizer can give
  procedural suggestions, and steer the
  group back to main, central issues
 Clarifier: this person clarifies
  misunderstandings, attempts to make
  clear unclear expressions and ideas
 Questioner: questions can help fill
  knowledge gap, but questions should be
  vital not inconsequential
 Factual Contributor: presents facts in a
  non-aggressive and non-arrogant tone
 Energizer: this person gives hope to the
  group when things get stuck during the
 Idea Creator: risks new, different ideas.
  He/she is willing to test the new ideas in
  the meetings
 Critical Tester: Challenges ideas tactfully
  for validity and reasonableness
 He/she checks for sufficient number of
  facts, consistent information, clear
  language, reliable sources/statistics,
  verifiable evidence, any omitted data
 Conciliator: helps find the middle ground
  when there are too many disagreements
 He/she seeks to find compromise
 Helper of others: helps those less efficient
  or hesitant to participate in meetings
 Tact, sensitivity, and cooperativeness
  with the chairperson characterize this

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