Developing meeting management practices in a selected petrochemical company
Keulder, Sidney Louis
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One of the most common, and yet effective ways of dealing with problems for managers, is the use of meetings. Meetings are a managerial tool that is used to perform their tasks. In a meeting, two or more people come together for the purpose of discussing a predetermined topic. These topics are relevant to the business and help with business decisions as well as event planning. Meetings sometimes have no focus, have too many discussions that meander into topics of interest to only one or two participants, and stretch on and on. Many people dislike meetings; however, productive meetings enhance the chance of having a successful project. Just like other processes, meetings can be studied and constantly improved. Meetings are most important for managers to conduct their tasks in any organisation. Meetings are the very heart of management. Effective meetings are important for collective decision–making, planning and follow–up, accountability and other practices that will help any manager to build a good organisation. Any manager of an organisation will attend several meetings during their service period. Time is a scarce commodity and indirectly equates to money. Meetings are time consuming and it is imperative that time is spent efficiently during such meetings. The more effective the meetings, the easier and the more effective the entire process will be. One of the major problems identified is the communication gap between managers and their subordinates. Meetings can also be defined as a type of communication session. Meetings' main tool is communication. No meeting can be conducted without proper communication channels. An effective meeting can only occur in the event of effective communication. It is possible for every problem recognised to be explored within the context of a meeting. Most managers start their days with a morning meeting with his/her employees. Meetings are an important vehicle for personal contact. During such meetings, the previous day's events or performances are reported and the day's actions are formulated. During this meeting, the manager normally collects information about the performance of his/her department. Consequent actions are devised. This could possibly result in a further development of more formal meetings. Effective meetings can be a problem–solving tool for the organisation, while bad meetings, on the other hand, represent a loss. If a manager spends 60% of his/her time in meetings that are 50% productive, he/she wastes 30% of the organisation's time. Can any organisation survive with that type of return in investment? Effective meetings do not only contribute to the advancement of the organisation, but also to the career of each individual. Professionals spend an average of one to two days out of every week in meetings. This is 1/5 of their work week. Professionals become more and more frustrated with the number of meetings they have to attend. The value of those meetings is questioned and they labelled meetings as a black hole in their workday. Furthermore, this is happening at a time when most professionals are under tremendous pressure to add to the bottom line, work efficiently, and contribute directly to the organisation–wide productivity initiatives. In short, this is time that has been wasted and lost. As a manager, individual contributor or even a team leader, the success of the project and even the career of the individual can be heavily influenced by how well he/she participates in a meeting process. By following a few basic guidelines for preparing and leading a meeting, he/she will have a better chance at creating something that is beneficial rather than boring. Meetings represent the most powerful and dramatic events in the workplace. When a meeting works well, it can add enormous value to the organisation. It is possible to conduct such value–added meetings. If the organisation follows a few basic guidelines for preparing and leading a meeting, they will have a better chance to create something that is beneficial rather than boring. In the current 'do more with less time' climate that organisations find themselves in today, it has become even more important to maximise the effectiveness of meetings.