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30 Minutes Before a Meeting (30 Minutes Series) by Alan Barker

By Alan Barker

A part of a chain of pocket courses that target to allow 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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Refer to the agenda and ask for the relevance of a suspicious remark. Appeals to group solidarity should solve the problem, at least temporarily. An attempted hijack usually means that a major issue needs to be addressed. Try to identify it and decide how to tackle it. Senior management at meetings chaired by subordinates are particularly prone to hijack. The Chair must try to exercise proper authority. If you conduct the meeting fairly, you will have nothing to fear from a responsible senior manager – who may be assessing your leadership potential.

Try to locate the source of the problem. Sometimes this is obvious: insecurity at a time of great change, stress, a new set of working relationships or pressure from public exposure. Hostility is often a sign of powerlessness. This is why anger often centres on what ‘they’ have done: senior management, other teams, department heads, ‘rogue operators’ who have bucked the system, engineers or sales staff who are never in the office . . Be prepared. Give yourself a single overriding objective: to empower the group to do something practical.

Will everybody feel at ease when they are there – or will they be intimidated by the trophies of a dominant senior manager? If the meeting is in a hotel or conference venue, you will need to liaise to establish timings, numbers and catering, as well as establishing some protocol for that perennial issue, smoking. Is the room the right size and shape? If we feel crowded, we will interact less and feel more stressed. On the other hand, small groups cohere more quickly in a small space. If you are holding a team meeting in a large room, create your own space by blocking off the rest of the room with screens.

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