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[edit] Meeting Management and Working with Work Groups

[edit] Description of the Technique

Definition of Working Groups: Researchers working together through a series of activities to help benefit and bring about results that help bring understanding and possible conclusions to the research. Working groups are used to elaborate, consolidate, and build on the consensus of the decision makers; and to ensure coordination among the various segments of the organization, through a shared commitment to work together to clarify issues, formulate strategies, and develop action plan.[1]

Definition of Meeting Management: The process of planning, monitoring and coordinating all components of a meeting including date, destination, venue, invitations, registration, speakers, agenda planning, time keeping, and facilitation[2].

Background of the Technique: Over the years, meetings have developed a bad reputation for being long, boring and sometimes pointless. On average, researchers found that professionals attend 61 meetings per month and also found that around half the time spent in those meetings is wasted. This means that around 30 hours a month is wasted, which is time that could be used to be accomplishing actual work. Some problems with meetings are:

  • Meetings are long, inefficient, and generate few results
  • With so much time spent in meetings, employees have less time to finish their own work
  • They create frustration
  • Since they are wasting time, they are wasting money[3]

Since meetings have developed this bad reputation over the past few decades, meeting management has changed to become more effective today. Meetings do consume a lot time tend to be unproductive. Implementing a meetings management system will help increase efficency and productivity of meetings[4]. The main focus now when it comes to meeting management is asking if there is a point to having a meeting. There needs to be a purpose, an objective and an agenda with specific time limits set to ensure the meeting will be successful. The new techniques for meeting management ensure that there is a determined start and end time for the meeting, so that no time is wasted and the meeting is most effective.

History of the Technique: It is not possible to know when the first formal or informal meeting was held. It is likely that meetings in a variety of forms have existed since the beginning of human kind. Examples of meetings in Canadian history include: band meetings among Canadian First Nations, the signing of Canadian Confederation on July 1st, 1867[5] and the recent G20 summit held in Toronto in 2010.

Community Development: Meeting management and working with work groups gets individuals to work together to help solve issues and bring about community development. It does this by getting a variety of individuals involved from different standpoints and not just the community leaders.

Example of Technique:

[edit] Application

When should your technique be used: It is difficult to determine when to have a meeting. One must make sure that there are open spaces on their calendars so that they can fully commit to a meeting. One must also remember that there are two reasons to decide to have meeting. These reasons include:

  • 1. Information flow and perpetuating relationships of partnership or teamwork[6].
  • 2. The first step (information flow) is sometimes overlooked or “overkilled.” It is overlooked when managers assume employees can get the information they need, or should take the initiative to ask for the information, if they want to know something. It is “overkill” when a manager brings everyone together to discuss or listen to information about everything. When both of these things occur they are ineffective and inappropriate[7].

Who should it be used by: Meetings should be used by everyone either in business or social settings. Meetings occur in communities, schools, town facilities, organizations, recreational facilities, and many more. A meeting is an element used within a charity to raise money, they can also be used in certain social events such as fundraisers, school committees, dances and many more[8].

Who should it be used with: Everyone should attend a meeting that the meeting pertains to. The objective of the meeting or the main goal will be better attained by the audience if there is a vast amount of individuals who attend.

Examples of when this technique has been used in a community/group setting:

1. Meeting management and working with work groups are techniques we used for this group project. We used these techniques during our weekly group meetings to ensure that we used our time effectively. Each group member took on a role that he or she felt comfortable with, and we were able to work effectively and cooperatively as a group. We also implemented these techniques when running our practice sessions and workshops. Both meeting management and working with work groups were major contributions to the success of our group project.

2. Meeting management and working with work groups are used for community council meetings. These meetings include individuals from the community committee and could also include community members. The purpose of these community meetings is to provide the opportunity for members to explain any concerns they may have or what they would like to see happen in their community. The meetings allow members' voices to be heard, as well as for the community to come together and make their community a better place.

3. Many cities use steering committees for the creation of new programs. A steering committee is a work group that determines what needs are required to be changed within an organization or community and goes through the steps to implement those changes[9]. These steering committees within the cities will meet and go over programs that are implemented and successful as well as programs that were implemented but did not succeed. Within these steering committees, the group members begin the brainstorming stage of determining what changes need to be made. The members of the work group then bring together the results that had come from the brainstorming step and determine the changes they are going to implement. Participation and involvement by all work group members is crucial during this stage. Once the objectives have been met, the group follows up with a debrief on the situation and forms a conclusion. For a steering committee this would be where the program is either implemented or sent back to the drawing broad to go through this process again.

[edit] Procedure [10]

1. Is it necessary for the meeting to happen?

  • Be able to define the purpose of the meeting in 1 or 2 sentences at most.
  • If you are unable to determine the purpose of the meeting, don't have a meeting.

2. Setting Objectives

  • If you are able to define the purpose, set objectives.
  • When setting the objectives, consider what is the meeting for and what outcomes you want.
  • Your objectives reflective what you want to achieve by the end of the meeting.

3. Developing Agendas

  • All meetings should have an agenda that includes the purpose, the items that are going to be reviewed/discussedinspected.
  • When planning an agenda develop the time limits for each topic to be discussed.
  • Think about what the overall outcome is for the meetings and what activities need to happen to reach these outcomes.
  • Send out the agenda to all participants to view the agenda before the meeting to ensure there are no surprises.

4. Opening Meetings

  • Always start on time.
  • Identify and clarify the participants roles in the meeting (see below: 8 roles in meetings).
  • Review the agenda.

5. Establish Ground Rules or Expectations for Meeting Participants

  • It is important that the whole group agrees on rules.
  • Ground rules improve a groups ability to work as a group.
  • Can focus on these issues:
    • The purpose of the meetings
    • Definition of significant or ambiguous terms
    • Time lines for meetings, length of meetings, meeting schedule
    • Meeting leadership and other roles
    • Expectation for participation and attendance
    • How decisions/actions will be recorded
    • How decisions will be made (consensus, affirmation, or voting)
    • The value of expressing different perspectives, how disagreements should be expressed and handled
    • Method of handling communication with those outside the work group

6. Time Management

  • Keep the meeting moving.
  • One role a group member takes is timekeeper, to ensure group stays on tasks during the meeting.

7. Closing Meetings

  • Always end meetings on time.
  • Meetings should end on a positive note.
  • All group members that a report will be sent out within a week of the meeting.

[edit] 8 Roles in Meetings [11]

1. Participants: Show up and be present; bring a cooperative, open-minded attitude; and do their best to make good decisions together.

2. Sponsor/Presenter: Thinks in advance about what exactly needs to happen at the meeting, everyone’s time is saved.

3. Agenda Planner: The gatekeeper of the meeting and has the responsibility to ensure that the group’s time is well used.

4. Facilitator: The process guide of the group.

5. Notetaker: Records the information readers will likely want to know (i.e. date/time of meeting, who was present, title of each topic discussed, main points, decisions and next steps).

6. Timekeeper: Keeps an eye on the clock, and should warn the group well before the time for each item runs out.

7. Doorkeeper: Sits near the door to welcome latecomers, and orient them as to what’s happening in the meeting so that they are up to speed and can participate without disruption.

8. Vibeswatcher: Keeps an eye on group energy and dynamics and intervenes when emotions run high, the group needs a break, and so on.

Each time our group met to discuss our practice sessions or workshop, we all took on the different roles of meeting managment. As a group, we noticed that taking on these roles allowed us to have more efficient and effective meetings. Each member of our group took on a role that he or she felt comfortable with. This ensured that no one had to step out of their comfort zone and allowed a judgement-free atmosphere that allowed our group members the opportunity to voice their thoughts and opinions. Taking on the different roles of meeting management allowed us to stay focused and on topic during our meetings and follow the procedure steps of meeting management.

Video How to Run an Effective Meeting:

[edit] Technique Strengths [12]

  • Allow members to exchange information about new and ongoing work in the community
  • Gives everyone a responsibility; everyone takes on a role
  • Encourage ownership
  • Encourage sharing of ideas and opinions
  • Provide opportunity for honest conversation
  • Facilitate sharing of resources and skills
  • Foster rapport and an environment of trust among the group

As a group, we implemented three practice sessions that taught us a lot about the techniques of meeting management and working with work groups. In these practice sessions, we noticed there were many strengths of meeting management which we began to focus on for all our practice sessions and workshop. After we finished our first practice session, we noticed that providing opportunities for all participants to voice their thoughts and opinions about meeting management created a more positive work group.

[edit] Technique Limitations [13]

  • If specific roles are assigned, not everyone’s voices are heard
  • Can be time-consuming
  • Can lead to individuals being side-tracked and losing focus
  • Poor attendance at meetings
  • Focuses on the day-to-day vs. the big picture
  • Members tend not to prepare for meetings
  • Members are "not on the same page"
  • There can be lack of confidentiality
  • No diversity of opinions, race, gender, age, geography
  • Lack of succession planning

As we completed each practice session, we came together as a group and talked about the weaknesses that appeared during the practice sessions. We noticed that our participants did not come to our practice sessions with any knowledge about meeting management, which left them unprepared and at times unfocused. As a group we also noticed that meetings are time-consuming and it is really important before implementing and managing a meeting, to ask the question - is this meeting necessary?

[edit] Tips for Successful Implementation

  • Be prepared
  • Divide up roles during a management meeting
  • Schedule/Agenda (stay on topic)
  • Productivity of meetings (are they really necessary)
  • Limit points said
  • Have material written down/available to others to read easily

[edit] References

  1. UNCHS & UNEP, Nairobi (2009). Establishing and Supporting a Working Group Process. 3. Retrieved from on November 2, 2011 from:
  2. Cvent. (2001). Meeting Management. Cvent Event Survey & eMarketing Solutions. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from
  3. SMART Technology. (2004). The State of Meetings Today. Effective Meetings. Retrieved November 22, 2011, from
  4. Jacobs, B. C., & Rosenthal, T. T. (1984). Managing effective meetings. Nursing Economic$, 2, 137-141.
  5. Wikipedia. (2011). Canadian Confederation. Wikipedia. Retrieved November 25, 2011, from
  6. TrubyAchievements. (2011). Meeting Management. Truby Achievements. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from
  7. TrubyAchievements. (2011). Meeting Management. Truby Achievements. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from
  8. Goodall, H. L., Goodall, S., & Schiefelbein, J. (2010). Business and professional communication in the global workplace (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth Pub..
  9. Farlex. (2011). Steering Committee. Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus - The Free Dictionary. Retrieved November 25, 2011, from
  10. Internet2. (2011). Working Groups: Meeting Management. Internet2. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from
  11. Bressen, T. (2004). Group Facilitation Site. Tree Bressen - Facilitator. Retrieved November 22, 2011, from
  12. Internet2. (2011). Working Groups: Meeting Management. Internet2. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from
  13. Artswave. (2011). Board Strenghts and Weaknesses. Virtual Arts Incubator. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from

[edit] External Links

Howo. (2006). How to: Run a successful meeting | Howo’s Tip of the Day. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from

Mind Tools. (2011). Running Effective Meetings - Communication Skills Training. Management Training, Leadership Training and Career Training. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from

[edit] Authors

Ali, Sheileen, Cara, Eric, Steph and Keolani

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