In business settings, people spend an inordinate amount of time and energy in meetings. Regardless of whether the setting is a corporate organization, a non-profit entity, or a small business, meetings are a common way for individuals to come together to share information or to make decisions. In Kirkpatrick’s (1987) book, How to Plan and Conduct Productive Business Meetings, he seeks to dissect the meeting and then reconstruct it in a more productive manner; Kirkpatrick (1987) also provides insights into areas of communication and into how I can create more productive meetings in my workplace.
Summary of Book
According to Kirkpatrick (1987), “this manual has only one objective: to help you conduct more productive meetings” (pg. x); this objective is the key premise of the book. As a secondary premise, the author explores whether a meeting is necessary.
First, Kirkpatrick (1987) explains that not all meetings are necessary or desirable (pg. 11). He gives five types of meetings to consider: “Information-Giving Meeting…Information-Getting Meeting…Problem-Solving Meeting…Attitude-Creating Meeting…Instructional Meeting” (pg. 11-13). Each type of meeting has a central activity such as writing a report or a memo or making an executive decision without having a meeting. Each alternative activity has pros and cons, but sometimes the disadvantages of having a meeting far outweigh the advantages. It is Kirkpatrick’s (1987) hope that individuals will consider whether or not a meeting is necessary before moving forward with the decision to hold the meeting.
Secondly, Kirkpatrick (1987) outlines that when meetings are necessary, they are often unproductive. Kirkpatrick (1987) explains that nonproductive meetings cost money, cost time, cause organizational problems and result in wasteful work settings. Kirkpatrick (1987) outlines a productive meeting as one where the leader understands his or her role, the leader is prepared, information is presented in an organized and effective manner and participants are enthusiastically involved. He goes further to explain ways for a leader to control a meeting, to conclude a meeting and to evaluate a meeting by giving tools and checklists for the leader to use in meeting settings. These components are key to creating an effective, productive meeting.
Meetings and Communication
Certainly, meetings in and of themselves are a form of communication. And a meeting can be dissected even further to explore the communication techniques of effectively listening, being assertive, and handling conflict management.
First, contributing in a meeting is not just a verbal skill, but it is also a listening skill. “You won’t be able to contribute at all unless you are attentive” (Kirkpatrick, 1987, pg. 202). Attentiveness is difficult if the meeting is dry, the leader is poor, or you are experiencing physical symptoms such as tiredness or boredom. Kirkpatrick (1987) shares five ways to listen more...