Although most meetings follow a natural progression from beginning to end, you still need to maximize your time during each phase so you can meet the objectives of the meeting.
You can make the most of the time scheduled for each meeting if you know what should go on during the three phases of a meeting. The three phases are the beginning, the middle, and the end.
The bulk of your time should be spent carrying out the meeting objectives, so keep time spent on the beginning phase to a minimum.
During this phase, you normally do three things to help set the tone: give a brief opening statement, give an overview of what will be accomplished during the meeting, and review the minutes of the previous meeting if the participants are members of a committee or group that meets regularly.
This forms the main bulk of the meeting and is when the objectives of the meeting are met. The specific activities that take place depend on the type of meeting it is. Possible activities include
- Presentations — It is the leader’s responsibility to keep presenters from going over their allotted time. You can do this by reminding them how long they have to speak or by using a signal to indicate when their time is up.
- Discussions — During a discussion period, participants may make suggestions, express concerns, or ask questions. The leader needs to focus the discussion by keeping the conversation on track.
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