Guide to Meetings (Guide to Business Communication Series)

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9780130338563: Guide to Meetings (Guide to Business Communication Series)

This concise, practical book is written for you if you want to assure your meetings will be... Necessary and not just a waste of time Interesting, coherent, and well-organized A place for people to share, rather than show off, their ideas Constructive, thoughtful, and creative Inclusive, with full participation from all Efficient and not a waste of energy In today's environment, meetings are more commonplace and important than ever, because of... Advances in technology--such as videoconferencing and conference calls Increased reliance on collaborative workgroups and cross-functional work teams Increased specialization, which necessitates sharing diverse knowledge and expertise Like all books in the Prentice Hall Guides to Advanced Business Communication series, this book is... Brief: summarizes key ideas only Practical: offers clear, straightforward tools you can use Reader-friendly: provides easy-to-skim format Reviews of the core concepts book for this series, Guide to Managerial Communication by Mary Munter --Listed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the five business books you shouldn't miss. --Really a gem. Former managing editor, Harvard Business Review --Short, compac

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

HOWTHIS BOOK CAN HELPYOU

This book is for you if you want specific tips to assure that your meetings will be:

  • Necessary and not just a waste of time
  • Marked by healthy discussion, not hostile confrontation
  • Interesting, coherent, and well organized
  • Based on new technology when appropriate
  • A place for people to share, rather than show off, their ideas
  • Constructive, thoughtful, and creative
  • Inclusive, with full participation from all
  • A forum for decisions that get acted upon
  • Efficient and not a waste of energy

The book can also help you if you want general guidelines, rather than answers to specific questions. For example, you might want:

  • A checklist for meeting preparation
  • General guidelines for meeting facilitation
  • A set of options for making decisions

Finally, if you are taking a professional course, a college course, or a workshop, you can use this book as a reference.

WHO CAN USE THIS BOOK

This book was written for you if you need to run meetings, either now or in the future—regardless of whether you are in business, training, nonprofit, health care, or any other professional context. Here are just a few reasons why meetings are more commonplace and important today than ever before.

  • Advances in technology—such as videoconferencing and conference calls
  • More time spent in meetings, 60 percent or more of some professional's time
  • High costs to the organization
  • Increased reliance on collaborative work groups and cross-functional work teams
  • More specialization, which necessitates sharing diverse knowledge and expertise

WHY THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN

The thousands of participants in various communication courses and workshops we have taught—between the two of us, at Dartmouth's Tuck, Minnesota's Carlson, and Stanford business schools, as well as at hundreds of companies and organizations—tell us that they want a brief summary of meeting techniques. Such busy professionals have found other books on this subject too long or too remedial for their needs. That's why Prentice Hall is publishing this series, the Prentice Hall Guides to Advanced Communication—brief, practical, reader-friendly guides for people who communicate in professional contexts. (See the opening page in this book for more information on the series.)

  • Brief: The book summarizes key ideas only. Culling from pages of text and research, we have omitted bulky examples, cases, footnotes, exercises, and discussion questions.
  • Practical: This book offers clear, straightforward tools you can use. It includes only information you will find useful in a professional context.
  • Reader friendly: We have tried to provide an easy-to-skim format—using a direct, matter-of-fact, and nontheoretical tone. Those hoping to gain new ideas can read it as a text while those wanting to refresh their memory should be able to easily skim specific pages.

HOWTHE BOOK IS ORGANIZED

The book is divided into two main sections: planning the meeting and conducting the meeting.

Part I: Planning the meeting (Chapters I-5)
Part I provides a detailed discussion of issues to consider before the meeting. Chapter 1 answers the question Why Meet? with tips on specifying a purpose for meeting, deciding on a channel of communication (e.g., meetings, presentations, writing, or an individual conversation), and analyzing your attitude toward meetings. Chapter 2 covers Who to Include? including how to select participants and gear your meeting toward their backgrounds, expectations, and emotions. In Chapter 3, we discuss What to Discuss?, that is, setting an agenda (scheduling, explanation, and format) and orchestrating roles (scribe, timer, etc.). How to Record Ideas? is the topic of Chapter 4 which covers equipment and planning techniques for graphic facilitation (that is, recording participants' comments publicly). Chapter 5 explains the final meeting planning issue, Where to Meet?—including the tradeoffs between face-to-face versus electronic meetings and the logistics for face-to-face meetings.

Part II: Conducting the meeting (Chapters 6-10)
Part II covers the specific skills and techniques needed to conduct the meeting. In Chapter 6, we discuss Opening the Meeting in terms of both task functions (making sure the job gets done) and process functions (making sure people participate). Chapter 7 covers Verbal Facilitation—things you can say to get people talking, stimulate discussion and debate, and avoid debilitating arguments and confrontations. In Chapter 8, we move to Listening Facilitation skills, mental and nonverbal techniques you can use to make sure you hear what participants say. Graphic Facilitation is the topic of Chapter 9, which covers techniques for recording participants' comments publicly during the meeting. Chapter 10 provides some guidelines for Closing the Meeting—various techniques for making decisions, ending meetings, and following up on meetings.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We are grateful for all the help and support we have received while working on this project. This project would not have been possible without the love and support of our friends, colleagues, and family members. MM: My thanks to Paul Argenti, Marcia Diefendorf, Seth Daniel Munter, Lindsay Rahmun, Lynn Russell, Karen Weinstock, and JoAnne Yates; to my colleagues at MCA and ABC; and to the thousands of executives and students I've been privileged to teach. MN: I would like to thank Carolyn Boulger, Mary Munter, Jim O'Rourke, Pris Rogers, and JoAnn Syverson for their encouragement and unwavering support. I would also like to thank the entire staff of the Managerial Communication Center at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. Finally, I would like to thank Professors Marty Manor, Jack Rhodes, Ernest Bormann, and Robert Ir. Scott for opening my eyes to the exciting possibilities of communication studies and for supporting my curiosity and personal growth.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge our sources listed in the bibliography.

Mary Munter
Tuck School of Business
Dartmouth College

Michael Netzley
Carlson School of Management
University of Minnesota

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