Effective Meeting

Part 1: Meeting of Information Technology Department

Introduction

The meeting being conducted is dedicated to an IT (Information Technology) department of a bank. An annual meeting happens at the beginning of every financial year. The purpose of the meeting is to set goals and objectives that the entire department intends to meet both at an individual and group levels. The other issues brought out by the department head are the achievements of the previous year. Unlike other meetings, its purpose is to set deliverables and tasks for the employees that the department expects to be met in the course of the year. Additionally, there is the mentioning of what was not achieved as planned and general budgeting of the department’s future expenditures.

Communication System at the Meeting

The means of communication used to call for a meeting is that of e-mail. The department has a group email that ensures everyone in the department receives all forms of communications. Unlike other meetings, the team manager or the group head heads the annual meeting. The tool used for advancing the meeting is minutes of the previous meeting that outline the plan for the department achieved in the past financial year. The group head started the opening of the meeting based on the explanation of its importance and purposes. Additionally, the team leader set specific basic rules that were to be used during the meeting. Some of the rules include switching off mobile phones and other gadgets and avoiding interruption (Bates Communications, 2007).

Communication Style of the Facilitator- Assertive

The communication style of the facilitator is both verbal and non-verbal as evident in the meeting. It revolves around the performance management, introduction of strategies, collaboration, listening, leadership and coaching skills. An assertive communication style is what the facilitator portrays. This approach is evident in the different parts of the meeting. He clearly states out his feelings and opinions including the disappointments some of the members have brought to the department. He gives each member ample time to comment on the proceedings. In the concept of listening, he listens attentively without interrupting. There is the maintenance of eye contact with a balanced calm and clear tone. His knowledge and competency regarding technological aspects allows him to control the meeting (Facilitative Leadership & Facilitator Training, 2012).

Leader’s Bases of Power

The team leader portrayed a number of leadership features as discussed below:

  1. Reward or Incentive - He recognizes members with exemplary performance, especially the young minds and new departmental members.
  2. Democratic - While organizing the meeting, he discusses with other team leaders on the appropriate timing and potential improvements to be made. In the course of the meeting, he requires the members to review and help in choosing realistic objectives from the available list. Additionally, he proposes a number of procedures that would be used to achieve the objectives and allows the members to choose the most suitable ones. He encourages a multi-channel communication, which is from him to the members and vice-versa. In some topics, he calls for user participation and collaboration with each member required to perform specific tasks (Linda, 2007).

  3. Relationships or Group Interactions - the team manager calls for member participation all through the meeting. He encourages questions and clarifications from members before moving to the next item on the agenda. He manages to create a trustworthy and safe environment that allows every member to speak out freely.
  4. Direction or Vision - Throughout the meeting, the facilitator reminds the members of the goals and objectives set. Here, he mentions of what benefit such achievements would be to the department and the individuals. He goes ahead to ask what members would need to achieve the goals effectively.

Member Participation

Every departmental member is expected to participate in the meeting. Here, everyone is given an opportunity to comment on the achievements of the past year and whether the goals set are reasonable. In the same context, one is expected to mention their personal goals of the year and what they require from the company and their leaders to achieve this. Participation allows members to bring out different views and opinions regarding the objectives and goals raised at the meeting. There is no tension or disrespect among the members or attendees of the meeting. During the meeting, it is evident that everyone concurs with the previous goals including how far the department had come to achieve this. While setting the New Year’s goals, the departmental head sought the opinion of the members allowing them to comment and give suggestions (Vlachoutsicos, 2012).

Body Language

The body language of the members varied amongst the persons. While some were attentive and leaning forward, a few leaned back in the seats with their eyes roaming around the room. This, however, changed when different topics were introduced that turned out to be of concern to them. In the case where a topic concurred with their thoughts, members nodded in agreement. The most common facial expressions at the meeting were those of smiles and frown. Most members smiled when the facilitator mentioned their achievements or reacting to his sense of humor. Frowns only came in when attendees disapproved or disagreed with something. Most members managed to maintain eye contact with the facilitator. The meeting facilitator’s posture, while standing, was upright with his shoulders leaned back and head up indicating easiness in the situation (McNamara, n.d.).

Some of the negative body postures evident at the meeting were fidgeting with fingers and looking away from the facilitator. It happened in the case items mentioned were of no relevance to the members. Forty-five minutes after the meeting commenced, some of the members lost concentration and began staring out to the wall hangings while other fidgeted with their pens showing a lack of concentration.

Part 2: Overall Critique of the Meeting

This section of the paper analyzes the positive and negative qualities portrayed at the meeting and their effects on the meeting’s effectiveness. Such qualities affect the outcomes of the meetings.

Positive or Effective Qualities

  1. Active listening
  2. Direct eye contact
  3. Member participation
  4. Correct body posture (sitting upright and leaning forward)

Negative or Ineffective Qualities

  1. Poor time management
  2. Ignoring of ground rules
  3. Downward eye contact
  4. Interruption

Explanation of the Top Three in Each Category

  1. Positive Qualities

Active Listening- It involves concentration by all members of a meeting without interruption. With active listening, members are able to comprehend the most important issues mentioned during the meeting and come up with opinions regarding the same. It also ensures a trustworthy and respectful environment with members paying attention to each other. Meetings with active listening end up achieving their set goals and objectives.

Direct Eye Contact- The quality gives evidence of member’s attention during a meeting. Direct eye contact ensures full concentration thus avoiding instances where members fail to listen to important issues.

Member participation- It is another important quality of a meeting. It gives members the feeling of importance of their contribution to the meeting thus allowing the availability of various opinions (Prendiville, 2008). Collaboration also ensures team bonding and clear understanding of individual skills. With effective member participation, most meetings can attain their set objectives.

  1. Negative Qualities

Poor Time Management- It deals with the punctuality of the members. Several attendees arrived fifteen minutes later than the scheduled time of the meeting. Being an annual meeting, the rest of the department was forced to wait for them. While this may seem fine to the late comers, poor punctuality is not a fair move regarding the other members with punctuality qualities. Additionally, starting the meeting late meant ending it late and disrupting the operations of the department (Muehlmeier, 2012).

Ignoring of Ground Rules- They are set at the beginning of the meeting and may be applicable to all other meetings. A good example is that of switching off phones, not walking out of the meeting and avoiding unnecessary interruptions. From the list provided, breaking of such rules brings about a chaotic atmosphere that indicates a lack of respect from both parties. It is also a discouragement to the speaker and may result in facilitators hurrying through the important agendas. Failing to adhere to these basic rules may affect the outcome of the meeting (Vlachoutsicos, 2012).

Part 3: Organizing a New Meeting on Health Service Organization

Introduction

The purpose of this meeting is to introduce a new project in a health service organization. As expected, it is complex in nature and requires great expertise from the internal and external parties of the organization. The members present will be representatives from various departments as well as other professional functions that would be beneficial to the project. Following the complexity of the project, the facilitator manages to invite experts from different fields.

Agenda of the Meeting

This section of the document mentions the main objectives of the meeting, important topics to be discussed, and the members handling each topic.

Agenda Item 1: Review of the minutes of the previous meeting

Agenda Item 2: Stating of meeting objectives

Agenda Item 3: Revising the purpose of the team that consists of experts, professional functions and departmental heads.

Agenda Item 4: Setting of Ground rules for the meeting

Agenda Item 5: Introduction of the New Health Project ides by the Facilitator

  • Purpose of the project
  • Expectations and main project deliverables
  • Health segments that will be affected by the project

Agenda Item 6: Expert opinions

  • Health finance expert
  • Monitoring and evaluation expert
  • Project management expert
  • Health systems expert

Agenda Item 7: Meeting Decisions on:

  • The project commencement
  • Approximate budget
  • Available Resources
  • Sources of funds
  • Project timeline

Background of the Expertise

The expertise present at the meeting was chosen based on the type of the project, the complexity, timeline and financial position of the service organizations. With their help, it will be easy for the facilitator to obtain the set outcomes regarding the new project and any other recommendations. All the expert attendees have approximately 20 years of experience.

Invited Attendees

  1. Expert Health Finance- the expert in this context works with the financing of health projects and policies and procedures guiding the financing of health systems. It is his or her role to provide recommendations on sources of funds such as loans, government or sponsors.
  2. Expert in Monitoring and Evaluation- in this context, he or she will be responsible for all evaluation and monitoring activities of the new health project. Other roles include implementation of performance monitoring plans.
  3. Expert in Project Management- the role of this expert would be successful planning, execution, monitoring and control of available resources needed in the project. Based on the budget presented and the set goals and objectives, it is his or her responsibility to ensure the project ends within the stipulated timeframe. Apart from this, the project manager also controls the human resource elements of the project to ensure they deliver the work on time.
  4. Expert in Health Systems- a health system expert has the knowledge of the current trends and technologies used in health system. His role would be to give recommendations on what should be adopted in the new project. Additionally, he or she provides criticism of the project elements included in the proposal. It is also his role to propose the best project developers and implementers in the entire project life.

Objectives to Measure the Success of the Meeting

The purpose of objectives is to allow members to plan for a meeting.

  1. To review minutes if the previous meeting
  2. To set ground rules for the meeting
  3. To introduce a new project idea to the members
  4. To gather opinions and expert knowledge regarding the project
  5. To explain the components of the new health project
  6. To set timelines for the new project, implementation and workflow plan

Conclusion

This paper discusses effective meetings. The first part discusses a sample meeting setting of an IT department including issues related to effective meetings. The second part of the paper discusses meeting criticisms in a positive and negative context. The third part introduces new project idea to a team of experts. From the discussion, the essential elements affecting meeting effectiveness are active listening, use of ground rules and member participation. The three aspects help in establishing a respectful, trustworthy and safe environment that allows members to participate freely. Without basic rules, most members would be engaging de-moralizing activities that affect the outcome of the meeting. Additionally, member participation allows attendees to provide various opinions and solutions to the issues raised. It is also essential for members to portray positive qualities in verbal and non-verbal communication. In the verbal context, the tone used determines whether the members would be attentive. Like the IT group head facilitator, one’s tone should be calm and clear. For non-verbal communication, members must portray positive body structures while maintaining eye contact with the speakers.

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