To ensure a level of efficiency and productivity, business meetings need to follow a set of rules that will display as much professionalism as possible.
In this article, we’ll discuss more about the planning and conducting phase of business meetings.
Even if a meeting is very informal, it is unlikely that it will have no paperwork at all. Even if no notes are made, it is still possible that everyone will need a list of all the items to be discussed at the meeting. This information will should be circulated to persons well in advance of the meeting to allow them the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the matters to be discussed before the meeting. There are some specific meeting documents that need to be made available, all of which serve a useful purpose.
Let’s have a look at some of them:
Notice of the Meeting:
This document tells people where and when the meeting will be held. This serves as written notice of the event. For informal meetings, notice may be sent via an e-mail or a memo. The notice of the meeting is sent out at a suitable time to allow those expected for the meeting enough time to prepare for the meeting.
Notices usually contain the following information:
- name of the organization convening the meeting
- address of the convening organization
- type of meeting
- the date on which the notice was written
- date, time and place of the meeting
- business to be transacted
- secretary’s or organization’s phone number
- name and signature of the person sending out the notice
This document tells individuals what will be discussed at the meeting. The list of items to be addressed is usually incorporated into the notice to save time.
Agendas usually contain the following information:
- Registration: This section is used mainly for taking the record of persons present at the meeting.
- Welcome and apologies: This section contains the welcome remarks made by the chairperson, followed by the announcements of the names of those who indicated that they would be unable to attend the meeting.
- Confirmation of minutes of the previous meetings: This section allows for members who were present at the last meeting to confirm that they have read the minutes of the previous meeting.
- Matters arising from the minutes and not on the agenda: this section discusses matters that may arise out of the minutes but have not been placed on the agenda. If the issue being raised from the minutes is already on the agenda, then it is left to be discussed later.
- Any other business: This section that appears at the end of the agenda incorporates any relevant and vital information that needs consideration but has not been placed on the agenda at the time it was circulated.
This document helps the chairpersons run the meeting more effectively. This lists the items to be discussed with additional helpful information and noting down what has been agreed. These documents are usually only required for formal meetings and some chairpersons do not use them at all.
These documents record what was discussed and the action people agreed to take – both for future references and as a reminder of what was discussed during the meeting.
There are different types of minutes for different types of meetings:
- Verbatim minutes – These are used primarily in court reporting, where everything needs to be recorded word for word.
- Minutes of narration – These provide a concise summary of all the discussions which took place during the meeting.
- Minutes of action – These list only the conclusions and the action agreed during the meeting.
- Minutes of resolutions – These are produced for very formal meetings, such as the AGM.
Here are the reasons why minutes are prepared:
- To record the decisions that are made at a meeting.
- To avoid any misunderstandings that may arise after the meeting has been completed.
- For future reference.
- As a legal record.
How about you share with us your first experience of a business meeting?