Conducting the Meeting

The world is a stage and a meeting is a performance, the same as an interview or speech presentation.

Each member has a part to perform and they should each be aware of their roles and responsibilities prior

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to the meeting. Everyone is a member of the group, ranging from new members to full members. If you

can reduce or eliminate the storming stage, all the better. A clearly defined agenda can be a productive

tool for this effort.


People may know each other by role or title but may not be familiar with each other. Brief introductions

can serve to establish identity, credibility, and help the group transition to performance. The purpose of

the meeting should be clearly stated, and if there are rules or guidelines that require a specific protocol,

they should be introduced.


Mary Ellen Guffey [1] provides a useful participant checklist that is adapted here for our use:


• Arrive on time and stay until the meeting adjourns (unless there are prior arrangements).

• Leave the meeting only for established breaks or emergencies.

• Be prepared and have everything you need on hand.

• Turn off cell phones and personal digital assistants.

• Follow the established protocol for turn taking.

• Respect time limits.

• Demonstrate professionalism in your verbal and nonverbal interactions.

• Communicate interest and stay engaged in the discussion.

• Avoid tangents and side discussions.

• Respect space and don’t place your notebook or papers all around you.

• Clean up after yourself.

• Engage in polite conversation after the conclusion.


If you are cast in the role of meeting leader, you may need to facilitate the discussion and address conflict.

The agenda serves as your guide and you may need to redirect the discussion to the topic, but always

demonstrate respect for each and every member. You may also need to intervene if a point has reached a

stalemate in terms of conflict (this text offers specific guidelines for managing interpersonal conflict that

apply here).