Plan and Organise Meetings: NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Business and Administration
Introduction to This Unit
This unit is a Group B optional unit at Level 3 with a total of 5 credits. This unit helps a candidate understand the arrangements and actions required for planning and organising meetings, how to prepare for a meeting, how to support the running of a meeting and how to follow up on a meeting.
An example of a personal statement has also been included for this unit!
P.S: On a kind note, please do not copy anything submitted here and display it in your file. This has been published purely to help you gain an understanding of what they expect you to write and how. You will have to relate what you write to to your own work area and organisation and stick with it while preparing the files. Thank you for your cooperation.
1.1 Explain the Role of the Person Planning and Organising a Meeting
For a meeting to run effectively, good planning and preparation are required. These two steps take a good deal of time.
Consider the following when planning the meeting:
- Find out the basic details of the meeting: the type of meeting, the budgeted amount that can be spent, the number of attendees, the venue where it will be held, and other details.
- Find out the aim of the meeting
- Find out the role of each person attending from the team.
- Organise a checklist and put all dates on the calendar, to make sure different meetings or events do not conflict with each other.
- If meetings will have to be scheduled periodically to monitor the actions taken, a meeting that repeats every month or every fortnight can be put on the electronic calendar
Consider the following when organising the meeting:
- Fully understand the purpose of the meeting
- Find out the time constraints of the people who will be involved in the meeting, to determine the best time to hold the meeting so that it does not conflict with other appointments.
- Choose a venue easily accessible by all the attendees.
- Plan the length of the meeting, considering the visitors and the number of issues that need to be discussed.
- Plan what refreshments will be provided, and who will be in charge.
- Gather agenda items and prepare them in the proper format and order.
- If responsibilities need to be distributed among different people, make a list of who will be doing what!
- Make sure that the person facilitating the meeting knows what needs to be achieved at the meeting and how long the meeting is scheduled to last.
1.2 Describe the Different Types of Meetings and Their Main Features
There are various types of meetings. Meetings differ with respect to:
- The number of people attending the meeting
- The purpose of the meeting
- The size of the organisation
- The person chairing the meeting
- The length of the meeting
The basic types of meetings are as follows.
- Standing meeting: This is a meeting that takes place on a regular basis either weekly or fortnightly with the manager with regards to any project that is in progress. These meetings last till the completion of the project, and they have general format for agenda and minutes.
- Topical meeting: A meeting arranged to discuss a particular topic related to work or a project.
- Presentation: A meeting held generally to inform the team about changes made in processes and procedures. In this meeting, there is a presenter or two, and at the end the attendees have the opportunity to ask questions.
- Conference: A meeting organised with considerable planning and structure and moderated by a chair person. The number of participants depends on the purpose of the conference.
- Emergency meeting: A meeting held all of a sudden without much prior notice to address any crisis internal or external to the organisation. All members of the team are required to attend the meeting.
- Seminar: A meeting are held mainly for educational purposes, and headed by experts in a particular field.
1.3 Explain How to Plan Meetings That Fulfill Agreed-On Aims and Objectives
Meetings need to be planned with great attention and detail, because they play a very important role in achieving the goals of the organisation. First and foremost, prepare a checklist for the meeting.
- Check to see if concrete and realistic goals have been set up.
- Check to see if the meeting venue is accessible to everyone.
- Check if the dates and times are convenient for all attendees.
- Check to make sure chairperson is aware of the agenda.
- Prepare an agenda that can accomplish all goals.
- Check if the agenda is printed and ready, resources are ready for the meeting, and all invites have been sent out.
- Check if the chairperson, the minute taker, and the presenters are ready, and the refreshments are all set up.
Planning: Plan the meeting together with the chairperson and all the attendees, including the type of meeting, its purpose, the budget available, the number of attendees, the venue, and other basic details.
Venue Requirements: When choosing a venue for the meeting, look at the purpose of the meeting and the number of attendees, and whether the venue is in good reach. Check with the venue to see if they have all the facilities needed for the meeting. Also inform the chair and the attendees if necessary and get ideas if needed about their expectations for the venue in order to avoid any hassles or failures of the meeting.
Target Attendees and Invitations: List clearly the attendees for the meeting and send meeting invites. Ask what they will be talking on and how long they will need. That way you can calculate the length of the meeting.
1.4 Explain the Purpose of Agreeing on a Brief for the Meeting
A brief is a short note of what the meeting is all about: the purpose, who will be attending, and why they will be attending.
A brief lets us focus on the objectives of the meeting and its outcomes, and this helps effective team building.
A good brief has to be short, clear and focussed, adding up all the thoughts that need to be conveyed. This will give a clear understanding of what you are trying to do without any confusion.
The brief has to be very clear about the meeting's objectives relative to the business.
1.5 Explain How to Identify Suitable Venues for the Different Types of Meetings
When choosing a venue for the meeting or conference there are a few things that have to be kept in mind.
- Suitability: Check to see if the venue is big enough to accommodate all the attendees of the meeting.
- Location: Make sure that the venue is in a location accessible to all the attendees of the meeting.
- Availability: Check to see if the venue is free on the date requested to avoid disappointment at the last minute. It can create further problems not knowing the venue is not available after all arrangements have been made and all attendees have arrived.
- Size: Check to see if the venue can accommodate all the attendees and the resources that they will need, and if help is available to use resources needed.
- Facilities: Check the venue to see if you can hold the meeting there without any trouble in using the resources.
- Cost: Also check to see if the venue fits into the budget and if it is cost-effective.
1.6 Describe the Types of Resources Needed for Different Types of Meetings
The following are some of the basic resources required for a meeting.
- Writing material: to take down notes in the meeting.
- Overhead Projector: to demonstrate or display documents or slides.
- Dry board: This helps the person who demonstrates to write down things or ideas clearly for the attendees, so that there are no doubts.
- PC/laptop: these are used in conjunction with the overhead projector for displaying slideshows or documents.
- Info print outs for other participants: These include agendas and other paperwork the attendees might require to follow the meeting without any problems.
1.7 Outline the Main Points That Should Be Covered by an Agenda and Meeting Papers
The agenda is prepared before the meeting and is sent out to all the attendees. It is a list of topics that will be put forward for discussion.
An agenda needs to include:
- a brief description of the meeting objectives
- a list of the topics to be covered
- a list stating who will address each topic and for how long.
- The time, date and location of the meeting and any background information participants will need to know to hold an informed discussion on the meeting topic.
The meeting papers are a record of
- those present
- the time the meeting started and finished
- all topics discussed; nothing should be left out.
1.8 Explain the Purpose of Meeting Attendees’ Needs and Special Requirements, and Providing Them With Information Required for the Meeting
A meeting organiser will have to make sure that the needs of all the attendees are met. Always come prepared, if you have been assigned something specific. If you are scheduling a conference call, make sure you do it in advance. You might be asked to bring food or drinks.
- If you are just attending the meeting, you should bring at least two pens and enough paper to take notes.
- If you responsible for organising food and drink for attendees, check to see if any of the attendees have special dietary requirements.
- If the chair or speaker needs to make use of a laptop and projector, make sure they are set up and ready.
- If an attendee is physically disabled and requires special access arrangements ,make sure there are facilities for that person in the venue.
- Check with the venue about the date and time of the meeting and whether the venue will be available for the entire time.
- If attendees need the address and directions, make sure they are emailed the details well in advance.
Keep any external attendees briefed about the purpose of the meeting, and individual assignments.
1.9 Describe the Health, Safety and Security Requirements That Need to Be Considered When Organising Meetings
Health, safety and security are the most important factors to be considered while conducting a meeting.
- Check to see if the venue is a safe structure for the kind of meeting taking place.
- Check that electrical wires are secured properly and not trailing on the floor.
- Make sure that the equipment to be used, like laptops and OHPs, is good working order and has passed ICT testing to avoid safety issues.
- Make sure that any confidential documents taken to the meeting are not left behind and are brought back safely. Also, make sure that only authorised people are allowed access to those documents.
1.10 Explain the Purpose and Benefits of Briefing the Chair Before a Meeting
The meeting chair should be briefed about the meeting so that they know what to expect at the meeting. Some chairpersons have a lot of work on their schedule and therefore can't give all their attention to one project or area. The person responsible for briefing the chair is the person responsible for keeping the meeting running smoothly.
1.11 Explain the Purpose of Welcoming and Providing Suitable Refreshments to Attendees
The purpose of welcoming and providing suitable refreshments to attendees is to make them feel welcome and relaxed, and get them in a good mood to be attentive and participate. Appropriate refreshments also prevent people from feeling tired.
1.12 Describe the Types of Information, Advice and Support That May Need to Be Provided During a Meeting
The most obvious kind of support that you might be asked to provide is taking minutes. You may be asked to provide an agenda and other supporting documents. Other types of information and support might include IT resources such as a projector, laptops, or even food and drink.
1.13 Describe the Types of Problems That May Occur During a Meeting and How to Solve Them
There are various problems that can arise during a meeting.They may originate with the people participating in the meeting or with the resources used in the meeting.
Problems in ICT
A laptop or projector used for the meeting might not function properly due to a conflict with the software. Most of the times, the problem is no connection to the intranet. Such problems can only be resolved if one has administrative rights to make changes to the system. If not, advice from an IT technician has to be sought.
Problems With Participants
Apart from this, there can be conflicts arising from meetings. The types of conflict in business meetings can include:
- Professional differences: These arise due to differences in opinions. When these differences are left unresolved, they can spoil work relationships.
- Power struggles and personality issues: These arise when individuals or groups dislike one another. They stem from the personalities of people rather than from work conflicts.
These are some approaches and techniques you can use to resolve conflicts.
Conflicts can be about:
- Disagreements about workloads
- Differences of opinion
- Disagreements over lunch breaks, annual leave, holidays, etc.
- Differences regarding different ways of working.
Conflicts can be resolved in the following ways:
- Face-to-face discussions have to be conducted in which people clearly listen. These are necessary to understand the issue in detail and also to know the severity of the issue
- Rotas can be changed or amended to suit the needs and to resolve any conflicts
- When mere face-to-face discussions don't resolve conflicts, management has to get involved.
- Grievance procedures have to carried out if the issue is severe and the affected person wishes to carry out a grievance procedure with regards to the conflict.
1.14 Explain What Should Be Included in a Record of a Meeting and the Purpose of Ensuring the Record Is Accurate and Approved
Minutes should include all the information regarding decisions taken in a meeting and the actions that need to be taken within a certain period of time. When decisions are recorded, that enables all the people involved to keep things on track, and reminds them what they need to do. Any doubts or confusions that arise after the meeting can be clarified by referring and going through the minutes.
Minutes have to be clear and concise. The minute taker has to be prepared before the meeting, be attentive and alert during the meeting, and write down the minutes after the meeting.
Before the Meeting
The minute taker should not be an active participant in the meeting as it can be difficult to handle both tasks. Create a template for recording your meeting minutes and make sure you leave some blank space to record your notes. Include the following information:
- Date and time of the meeting
- The purpose of the meeting
- The meeting lead or chair’s name
- Assigned action items
- Decisions made
- Actions to be taken
- Any other issues
- Date for next meeting
Before the meeting, gather as much information from the organiser as you can. Ask for a list of attendees, as well as some information on the purpose of the meeting.
Decide how you want to record your notes. If you aren’t comfortable relying on your pen and notepad, try using a tape recorder.
During the Meeting
As people enter the room, check off their names on your attendee list or write down the names as people enter the meeting room. If there are new people whom you are not aware, ask either the chair or the person itself to introduce them to the team. It is also good to introduce everyone present, because visitors or some attendees might not be aware who is present for the meeting. Introductions also help you note down in the minutes who has been assigned to do what.
The minute taker has to be a very careful listener, not diverting the mind into anything else, so as to write down the notes accurately. If you don’t understand exactly what decision has been made or what action has been assigned, ask the meeting lead to clarify.
After the Meeting
After the meeting look through the notes and add any additional points that are left out, clarifying any doubts then and there so you do not lose track of what was discussed in the meeting. Type your notes out in the template you created before the meeting, this will make the notes easier for everyone to read and use.
When you’re writing out your notes:
- Number the pages as you go so you aren’t confused later.
- Focus on action items, not discussion.
- Be objective.
- If you need to refer to other documents, attach them in an appendix or indicate where they may be found.
- When you finish typing the minutes, ask the meeting chair to review the document for errors.
Good minutes ensure that the decisions and actions resulting from a meeting aren’t lost or forgotten. They also serve as a record for future references, and thus are important documents for the smooth running of the organisation.
1.15 Explain How to Record Actions and Follow Up if Required
Any action discussed at a meeting has to be recorded then and there. Actions to be followed up might involve an individual or the team as a whole. So before the next team meeting, if the follow-up has something to do with you or your team, make sure it is complete. If it is related to a different team or a person from an outside organisation, chase up by telephone or email to see if the task was followed up.
1.16 Explain the Purpose of Collecting and Evaluating Participant Feedback From the Meeting
Feedback is a reflection of the performance of individuals in the team. Every person in a team works differently. From our point of view, some situation might look right, but we have to see things from the observer’s point of view too. Feedback gives a chance to understand other people’s view of the way we work.
Feedback can be positive, negative, or neutral.
Feedback can be delivered in a number of ways, and it’s important to pay attention to as many of them as possible. Feedback conveys the way people see the way we work, and how it can be improved. Not all feedback is necessarily accurate.
The purpose of collecting and evaluating feedback from a meeting is:
1. Because an organisation works for its customers, customer service is very important for the smooth running of the organisation. So we have to listen to feedback to improve customer service.
2. Getting feedback helps you distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. You also get to know what is needed or essential and what is not, thereby helping you improve your efficiency.
3. We live in a community that has different cultures and beliefs. So collecting feedback helps you to improve your work with the diverse community.
4. We work with people having different personalities and relationships and characters in the community. Getting feedback helps us work efficiently in a way that suits every person in the community.
5. Feedback tells you whether the way you work is successful or not. It will also help you consider alternative ways of improving your performance.
6. Through feedback we come to know if we have hurt anyone, or made anyone feel uncomfortable or have disrespected anyone. We might do that unintentionally, so feedback helps us to identify those mistakes.
7. Feedback helps us focus on what the participants in a meeting require rather than what we require.
Using feedback from participants:
1. We can use the feedback to better understand the needs of the community.
2. We can use it to understand changes in the community.
3. We can use it to improve the program itself.
4. Feedback helps develop an organizational culture that embraces and applies what has been obtained from others.
1.17 Describe How to Agree Learning Points to Improve the Organisation of Future Meetings
Note down issues that you come across in meetings and discuss them with managers. Thus people can decide how to deal with such issues in the future.
Issues need to be addressed because they affect all the attendees and visitors at a meeting. If no action is taken, unresolved issues can be harmful to the smooth running of the organisation.