By Alan Barker

A part of a chain of pocket publications that target to permit the reader to grasp a brand new ability in precisely half-hour, this article offers convenient tricks on constructing and getting ready for a gathering.

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Finally, give the Actioner the confidence to do the task. Make it plain that you will give any support, training or explanations necessary, be available for consultation and advice and make the delegation of the task public. Back up all decisions and actions in writing. A summary action sheet distributed with – or before – the full minutes can be useful. Others affected by the action may need to be contacted by memo or e-mail. Now you can close the meeting. Make your final remarks positive, forward-looking – and brief!

Are you going to meet – or eat? If the meeting is worth attending, you must be prepared not to eat much Avoid alcohol Taking notes will be difficult. Arm yourself with a narrow pad which can slip easily between plates and glasses. 34 34 4 WHERE ARE YOU MEETING? (15 minutes to go) Key questions Is the meeting room appropriate to your purpose? Can you adapt the room to meet your needs? Can you alter the layout of the furniture? Do you have all the equipment you need? Are you adequately prepared for technology: computers, telephone, video?

Nothing damages the thinking in meetings more than adversarial thinking, yet we accord it enormous prestige. Managers who can defend their ideas and beat off aggressive criticism become heroes; they may even be promoted on the basis of their ‘strong character’. Adversarial thinking becomes a self-perpetuating cold war of argument and counter-argument. If you want to improve the quality of the thinking in your meeting, you must help it to break out of this cycle. There are a number of tactics you can adopt.

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