Book Review – Running Meetings by Nick Morgan

Running meetingsRunning Meetings by Nick Morgan is a book from the Harvard Business School Press Pocket Mentor series. This book aims to show us how to run meetings that are effective. As is the custom with this series, the book is split into two parts. The first part contains the main content, while the second part has some helpful tips and tools. Following is a brief review of the first part.

PART 1 – ALL ABOUT MEETINGS

Getting Started

This is the first chapter in the book which answers three key questions:

  1. When is it necessary to have a meeting?
  2. Who should come to a meeting?
  3. Apart from standard meetings, what are the other types of meetings?

There is also information on how to run a problem solving meeting and a reminder about why the purpose of a meeting is important.

How to prepare for a meeting?

This next chapter covers the steps necessary to prepare for a meeting. It outlines and describes steps to take which include:

  • Define the meeting’s purpose
  • Identify those who should attend
  • Clarify date, time, venue and equipment needed for the meeting
  • Create the meeting agenda
  • Assign meeting roles and responsibilities to meeting attendees
  • Give people pre-meeting information they need

How groups reach decisions

In this chapter you will read about how groups decide. This is an important topic because a lot of meetings focus on making decisions. The chapter starts out presenting information on how to prepare for a decision-making meeting. Next, three group decision making methods are described. They are:

  1. Decide by the majority vote
  2. Decide through group consensus
  3. The leader makes the decision

The chapter concludes with some information on how to guide the decision-making process.

How to conduct a meeting

In this chapter you will read about how to conduct a meeting. The steps discussed are:

  • Opening a meeting with authority
  • Running a meeting skilfully
  • How to get full participation in a meeting
  • Ending the meeting
  • The phases and tasks that make up a meeting

When bad things happen to good meetings

This chapter covers a very interesting topic when it comes to meetings, that of dealing with things that you didn’t plan for. Some of the bad things that can happen in a meeting identified are:

  • People who come late or leave early
  • Disruptive participants
  • Domineering participants
  • Disagreeing participants
  • Demotivated participants

So what can you do about this? Without going into detail, suggestions given include:

  • Be realistic, no matter how well you plan some of these things will still happen
  • Be prepared for challenges
  • Be ready to act
  • Practising playing other meeting roles. Things may happen that mean you have to fill those roles.

How to handle end matters

Here we are given three pieces of advice about ending meetings. They are:

  1. End the meeting on time
  2. End the meeting early, if possible
  3. Provide appropriate closure for the meeting

How to follow up after a meeting

To follow up after a meeting as this chapter teaches us, it is important to:

  • Take steps to ensure pre-meeting success such as acting on decisions are taken
  • Develop a communication and action plan for closure and continuity.
  • Engage people who were dissatisfied at the meeting
  • Evaluate the success of the meeting

Virtual meetings

This is the last chapter of the book which reminds us that we don’t always have to run face-to-face meetings. Other meeting options are:

  • Videoconferencing
  • Teleconferencing
  • Audioconferencing with internet support
  • Chat rooms and other live web connections

PART 2 – TIPS AND TOOLS

This part of the book provides some tips and tools. It has blank copies of checklists used in the first part of the book collected in one place. These checklists are:

  • Meeting Planner’s Checklist
  • Meeting Agenda
  • Communication and action plan

There is also 10-question multiple -choice quiz with answers provided to help us review what we read from the book.

Finally there are some references to extra information for learning about how to run effective meetings.

This is a small book with just 97 pages but one that will help any manager improve their abilities to run and manage meetings.

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