Running Meetings by Nick Morgan is one of the books from the Harvard Business School Press Pocket Mentor series. This small book with just 97 pages will give you sufficient information to run efficient and effective meetings. The book is divided into two broad sections. The first section titled, All About Meetings, has the main reading content and I’ve briefly reviewed that section below. The second section is a consistent feature of the books in this series, titled Tips and Tools, it contains extra information about the book’s main topic, in this case, running a meeting.
What you can learn from reading section one?
Here is a very brief review of some of what you can learn from reading the information in section one. The section is divided into eight sub-sections.
In this section the first question answered is, why have a meeting? The answer to that is followed up with points on who comes to meetings and recognising other types of meetings apart from the usual type of group meetings. There is also some information on how to run a problem-solving meeting.
How to prepare for a meeting
This next section outlines key actions to take when preparing for a meeting. The actions discussed are:
- Identify the meeting’s purpose.
- Decide who needs to attend.
- Think about date, time, place and equipment for the meeting
- Build the agenda
- Assign meeting roles and responsibilities
- Supply any extra pre-meeting information
How groups reach decisions
This third section is all about decision-making meetings. The section starts out offering some advice on how to prepare for this type of meeting and then discusses three ways decisions may be made which are by:
- Majority voting
- Group consensus
- Leader making the decision
There are also some points on how to guide the decision-making process.
How to conduct a Meeting
After preparation comes conducting the actual meeting which this section discusses. If you want to run a meeting properly, then reading the information here will show you how to:
- Open a meeting with authority
- Run a meeting skillfully
- Know how to get full participation
- End the meeting properly
When bad things happen to good meetings
This section has an interesting title, but what is it about? It provides us with some steps to take when a meeting goes wrong:
- Be realistic, no matter how much we prepare, things can still go wrong.
- During the meeting be prepared. Be vigilant and look out for signs of things going wron so you can act on time.
- Be ready to act if something actually does go wrong.
This section contains a lot of information that can help with managing meetings when things go wrong.
How to handle end matters
As the title implies, the information here deals with ending a meeting properly. It provides advice in three areas:
- End the meeting on time.
- End the meeting early if possible
- Provide closure.
How to follow up after a meeting
Following up after a meeting is a major factor that can help to determine if a meeting ends up being successful and some of the things you can do to follow up as discussed in this section are:
- Communicate with people after the meeting.
- Make sure you’ve created an action plan for people to work on after the meeting.
- Evaluate how the meeting went and listen to those who may have complaints about the neeting.
This final and short section reminds us that meetings don’t have to be face-to-face all the time. Using videoconferencing, webconferencing, chats rooms and other types of collaborative technology can help us run meetings where everyone is not in the same place. These meetings have the same rules as face-to-face meetings and can be as effective too.
Tips and Tools
This is the second part of the book, albeit a very short one. It contains:
- Tools for running a meeting which include three templates (Meeting planners checklist, meeting agenda and communication and action plan).
- Self assessment questions to test your knowledge of the book.
- References to further information on the subject.
While this is a short book, it’s not short on information. The information in this book is more than sufficient to support anyone to run effective meetings.