"Planning and Organising Meetings": A Personal Statement (for NVQ Diploma in Business and Administration)
Meetings take place often in every organisation, and they play a very important role in deciding for better performances. I am aware that for a meeting to progress and take place successfully, proper planning and organisation are required. When planning the meeting, I take into consideration the aim of the meeting, type of meeting, the number of attendees, the venue, etc. I check to see if there are any visitors that have requested to come in for the meeting. If yes, I liaise with them too to see if the dates are convenient.
After planning, I organise the meeting. I make sure that the time of meeting does not conflict with other appointments of the people involved. I choose a venue that can accommodate the attendees attending the meeting. I provide the attendees with the time of meeting, and approximate length of the meeting. I make sure refreshments are arranged too. When arranging for refreshments, I look into the dietary requirements of attendees if anybody has any. It is important to provide refreshments, as it makes the attendees feel welcomed and also prevents them from being tired especially if it has been a tiring long day for some.
Types of Meetings
In our organisation we have different types of meetings, depending upon the need and number of attendees. We have team meetings which happen once a fortnight or once a month depending on the needs. The attendees are generally my team members and any visitors if they had requested. We have joint team meetings, which is a combined meeting for ____________________________(removed for confidentiality purposes) team attending along with any visitors. We sometimes call for emergency meetings when there are urgent issues to be discussed. There is also one to one meeting when discussing confidential issues and also about performance of individuals. Presentations are held when there are changes made to systems or new policies and procedures introduced which have to be communicated with the department.
When planning meetings I make sure there is a solid reason for the meeting and that the venue is easily accessible by all the attendees. I prepare the agenda, and run it through the chairperson, to make sure she is aware of the items that will be discussed. I brief her about what the meeting will be about, who will be attending, who will not be attending, what the guest will be attending for, where the meeting will take place, and how long it will last, and get a go ahead. It is important to brief her, so that she is ready and knows what to prepare beforehand. I send a copy of the agenda to all the attendees, and also meeting invites on outlook. I inform them of the address where the meeting will take place. If anyone declines the meeting invite, they will have to reason why and take consent from the manager and send apologies for the meeting. Also I make sure to see if the meeting can go ahead with the people who will not be attending.
Booking and Setting Up
When booking venues or rooms for meetings, I look for venues or rooms that have the capacity to hold all the attendees and that the room or venue has all the facilities required for the meeting. I clarify with the venue, or check to see if the venue is safe structure wise, and all electrical wirings are sealed, and that they comply with the health and safety procedures. If there are attendees that have disability, I make sure they have all the facilities they require in the meeting venue. I also make sure that the venue is easily accessible, and is convenient for all the attendees. If the venue was booked well ahead, I ring them to make sure that the room is available for the meeting in order to avoid disappointments at the last minute. Any payments that need to be made for the venue is agreed by the budget manager. Budget for refreshments are shared by all the staff in the team.
Before the meeting I have all the resources like notepads, pens and equipments like OHP, laptop, projectors, extension cables, and Ethernet cables etc necessary for the meeting. Chairs and tables are arranged as per meeting requirements. I print off a few copies of agendas and also minutes from the previous meetings to check if all the actions were completed. If any handouts need printing and distribution, I have them too ready in hand for the attendees. I set up laptops and projectors if they are required for the meeting. Any confidential documents that are taken to the meeting, I keep them safe so that they do not go into the wrong hands and that only authorised people are allowed to look through it.
The agenda has the date, title, and venue, name of the meeting, apologies, visitors’ names, and the list of items that need to be discussed. If there are specific topics that will be discussed by a particular person, that is also mentioned on the agenda. Agenda and minutes are called meeting papers, and they have every single details of all the important things that were discussed in the meeting.
During the Meeting
All the attendees to the meeting are welcomed and they are provided with refreshments. I distribute agendas and any handouts that need distribution. If anyone has any questions about anything, I provide them with clear information, and when not aware, I take advise and guidance from my fellow colleagues or managers.
During meetings, I am asked to support with taking minutes and setting up IT equipments. I also take in copies of agenda and previous minutes.
I am aware that I will have to be ready to deal with any problems that might arise during the meeting. If there are problems with IT equipments, I will try my best to sort out the problems within my administrative rights. But if it is to do with anything out of that, I get in touch with the IT service desk for help. There might be problems among attendees due to professional and personality issues. These are resolved by having face to face discussions, changing rotas if needed, carrying out grievance procedures etc.
When recording minutes in a meeting, I record everything that is important, because it serves as a reference in the future and helps with organisation’s development. I write down the minutes clear and short. I am very attentive in order not to miss out on any information. I take a template with me with details of all the items that will be discussed at the meeting. It will have the date, time, title of the meeting. It also has details of what was discussed, decisions taken and actions that need to be taken. The date of next meeting if decided will be recorded too. When the meeting starts, if there are any new attendees and visitors, we introduce ourselves to each other. I stay alert when writing minutes and number the pages as I write so that I don’t get confused later.
After the Meeting
At the end of the meeting, I collect all the documents that need to be taken back. I disconnect and pack any IT equipments that were used. All the chairs and tables that were rearranged are put back to their original places in order to avoid hindrances to the next meeting. After the meeting I look through the notes and elaborate them and type up a fair copy before I forget what the discussions were. I then send the finished minutes to the chair either by email or a printed copy, and ask them to review it before it can be sent out to the attendees. The chair reviews them, and makes any changes that need be. I amend them and prepare a fair copy and send them to the attendees.
After the meeting, I keep a track of the actions that need to be followed up. I either ring or email people to make sure that the actions were completed by the targeted time.
Another important thing is collecting feedback from participants. It helps me to listen to people’s views and make any improvement that is necessary. I listen to feedback very calmly and reflect on it. It can be positive, neutral or negative. I do not let negative feedbacks affect me. Instead I use it to improve my performance and teams’ performance. When working as a team, it is not the individual’s idea or outlook that matters; it is the view of the whole team that matters. Any general feedback is discussed and communicated with the whole team, so as to improve team performance.
All issues in meetings are noted down and they are discussed in managers’ meetings and they decide on what can be done to avoid those situations in the future.
P.S: On a kind note, please do not copy anything submitted here and display it in your file. This has been published here, purely to help you gain an idea of what they expect you to write and how you have to write. You will have to relate to your own work area and organisation and stick with it while preparing the files. Thank you for your co-operation.