3 Guidelines for great business meetings

So many PA’s that I train put this out in my workshops. “I wish my boss could be here to truly understand what it is that I do.” Yesterday I had the privilege of training a group of skilled and professional Personal Assistant’s at the Cape Chamber of Commerce.

The day flowed beautifully as a multitude of topics came up for discussion. One of the more pressing issues a lot of PA’s deal with is the importance of meetings from the notice of the meeting, to agendas and most importantly to running an effective meeting with clear minutes for all to follow.

We’ve all been stuck in a bad meeting. You arrive on time only to discover that the meeting started 10 minutes late. The agenda? Unclear. The person in charge? Who knows? Some people offer ideas, others shoot them down. Nothing is really decided and the meeting wraps up, as you silently lament lost time. There is a better way.

Three Rules of Running a Meeting:

1. Set and Time the Agenda

The agenda provides a compass for the conversation. It acts like a road map and tells participants where they are going, just as minutes let them know where they have been. Whatever you do though, ensure all participants receive the agenda. Add a time to each agenda item and REMOVE the ‘General’ item. It can’t be timed!

2. Start on Time. End on Time.

You know the old cliché? Meetings can take hours and all you get out of them are minutes. Time is money and all that sitting around and trying to guess when participants may arrive is a waste of a precious resource. Have you ever considered what a meeting costs? According to the latest research 60% of productive time is spent in meetings! Keep meetings short and focused.

Just as important as starting on time is ending on time. A definitive end time will help ensure that you accomplish what’s on your agenda and get people back to their work promptly. Appoint a time keeper.

3. End with an Action Plan

Leave the last few minutes of every meeting to discuss the next steps. This discussion should include deciding who is responsible for what, and what the deadlines are. Otherwise, all the time you spent on the meeting will be for nothing.
What I suggest to anyone taking the minutes, is to have a separate action sheet which can be sent to everyone present directly after the meeting so that they can strike when the iron is hot. The use this action sheet to start your next meeting.

There is so much rich content I impart in my workshops, that I could be here all day filling you in on the nitty gritty of a PA’s function. Instead, I recommend you join me for one of my training workshops and find out for yourself what it means to be a great PA in today’s corporate space.

Better yet, invite your boss to attend with you!