A Meeting of the Minds by toriola1

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A Meeting of the Minds By Linda Finkle

Meetings offer managers the chance to unify the workforce, communicate important messages, and create an organized forum for employee concerns. Therefore, meetings are a crucial aspect of running a business. Unfortunately, many managers treat meetings as ad hoc events and fail to properly prepare. Preparation, however, is the key to holding a successful meeting. Without clear objectives, managers flounder. Without rules and protocols, meeting participants can transform a quiet company gathering into a chaotic brawl. To avoid such a disaster, managers must learn to take charge of the meeting from the planning stage through to the conclusion. Proper preparation is all it takes to affect a meeting of the minds every time. Most of us have sat through meetings where managers never make a point. And most of us walk away from such meetings feeling frustrated and confused. After all, no one likes to invest their time just to come up empty handed. Aggravated employees, however, are far from the only hazard of poor planning. Ambiguous presentations require employees to fill in the blanks that their managers have left incomplete. Without clear guidelines, it's easy for employees to draw erroneous conclusions about their manager's expectations. An unclear agenda also leaves room for one disgruntled employee to transform a quiet gathering into an emotional battlefield. Envision how this plays out: A manager begins to discuss a controversial topic when one employee interrupts with a probing question. As the manager struggles to answer, the meeting participants begin to talk amongst themselves. Suddenly the crowd becomes quite animated. Order devolves into pandemonium as one employee after another drills the manager about an unpopular company policy. In this case, the lack of preparation allowed meeting participants to override the manager's objectives and unveil negative sentiments. By investing time up-front, managers can avoid these inherent dangers of poor-planning. Before calling a meeting, managers must develop a clear and concise agenda. Attempting to pack too much into one meeting will obscure the bottom line, and prevent employees from grasping the intended message. Managers should always provide meeting participants with an advanced copy of the agenda. Distributing the agenda prior to the meeting gives participants the chance to prepare on-point question. It also ensures that participants will not feel blindsided by a controversial meeting topic. Well-informed participants are more likely to engage with the meeting organizer, creating a fluid and comfortable atmosphere. Finally, attendees will appreciate knowing how their managers intend to
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spend their time. Planning puts managers on the right track but effective facilitation ensures they hit the mark. Effective facilitation has substantive and procedural components. Success on the substantive side requires that managers prepare talking points that track the previously distributed agenda. Talking points help managers stay on course when interruptions and disturbances threaten the meeting's progress. They also help with time management because managers can highlight the sub-topics they must cover and address them first. On the procedural side, meetings must have set time-limits. Participants lose focus when meetings drag on and are more likely to remain engaged when they know that a meeting has a definite end. Time-parameters make it easier for managers to refuse to entertain an off-topic question, which helps to eliminate a major cause of unproductive meetings. Good preparation and effective facilitation are all it takes to run a successful meeting. By investing time in planning and strategizing, managers avoid stuttering through difficult topics. A clear agenda not only helps managers deliver their message, but it also helps attendees receive the message. Planning offers comfort, which builds confidence and a take-charge attitude. Pushovers get swept under the rug, but self-assured managers captivate their audiences from beginning to end. With foresight and fortitude managers can avoid the hiccups that cause meetings to go awry.

Linda Finkle, CEO of Incedo Group, works closely with leaders and management to create sustainable productivity and organizational strength. She holds a Master Certified Coach designation through the International Coaching Federation. For more information on Linda and Incedo Group, please go to http://www.MakeSomeDamnMistakes.com

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How to Get the Most Out of an AA Meeting By Anne Dibala, M. D., The Recovery Coach™

How to Get the Most Out of an AA Meeting by Anne Dibala, M. D., The Recovery Coach™

1. Know where the meeting location is in advance. You might want to check a directory to see if the meeting is still at that location. Preferably, drive by the building at least the day before so you know where the building is, since many of themeetings are at night and it may be difficult to locate an address in the dark. 2. If you are self-conscious about going to your first AA meeting,or going to a new group, you might want to find someone to go withyou who is a member of this group, or know someone in the group. 3. Have a positive expectant attitude. If it's the first time that you are attending any AA meeting, you might want to talk with someone who is already a member of AA whocan explain how the meetings work, or even take you to a meeting. 4. Take a nice bath that day if you can. Not only will it help you relax and make you feel better as soonas you do, but you may also feel more comfortable in the meeting. 5. Wear comfortable clothes. The dress code is very informal. Some meetings do not even requirethat you wear shoes. (Almost everyone in Alaska wears shoes during the winter!) 6. Have a bite to eat before you go if it's a later meeting, and you would have to delay your lunch or dinner. No reason to bedistracted by hunger pangs. 7. If you are a smoker and find it very difficult to go without acigarette, you can make it easier by choosing a "smoking" meeting where, not surprisingly, smoking is allowed during the meeting,ashtrays are provided, and you won't go into a nicotine fit. 8. Try to arrive a few minutes before the meeting is scheduledto begin. Most AA members are very friendly and glad to greet "newcomers." They're there for the same reason you are -- alcohol was a problemand they want to stop and stay stopped. 9. Realize that you are not required to say anything at all at a meeting. It's all up to you to say as much or as little as you wish. Youdon't even have to give your name if you don't want to.

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10. Take it a day at a time, or five minutes at a time. And allow yourself to enjoy the Fellowship.

©Anne Dibala, M.D., The Recovery Coach™, http://www.responsiblerecovery.com . Anne is a psychiatrist and addictionologist. Our experienced, dedicated staff are here to serve you no matter where you are in your growth curve. If you’re high-functioning, we want to help you reach your further goal. If you feel stuck, let us help you. HOPE + HELP + ACTION = RESULTS. Mailto:TheGrowthCoach@responsiblerecovery.com .

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