Welcome back to module two of English for Management and Leadership. In this lesson on business communication, we'll be focusing on effective meeting techniques. Weather you're in the room, or calling in from another location. Both types of meetings share some common best practices, we'll discuss those in this video. In this module scene, you saw Elizabeth conducting the initial meeting with her team. She used several strategies to make sure the meeting went smoothly, what kinds of strategies did you see? Well, the first thing I saw was a table of goodies and coffee. I think we can all agree regardless of cultural background that food makes meetings more enjoyable. She also greeted everyone to make them feel welcome. But let's also consider the more business elements of a good meeting. When first planning a meeting, you need to consider whether the meeting is necessary. What the purpose of the meeting is and who should be invited. So start by asking yourself, is this meeting necessary? That's right. So often meetings are called when in fact a phone call or an email would be enough. Related to this is the objective or purpose of the meeting. A big mistake people make is to call a meeting without a clear idea of what you want to accomplish in the meeting. Once you know the purpose of the meeting, carefully select who should attend. People are very busy at work, so it's important to only include those people who need to be present. Sometimes a few more smaller shorter meetings maybe more effective and efficient that one large, long meeting. What other techniques did you noticed that Elizabeth used? Did you noticed that she had an Agenda? Not only did she develop a clear, detailed agenda, she made sure to email it to everyone the day before the meeting. It's important to send out an agenda beforehand, so that the attendees have the opportunity to prepare for the meeting. You might also send out any other materials that need to be read ahead of time. That makes sure that everyone is on the same page when the meeting starts. Now, here's where it gets interesting, and where often meetings go wrong. Sticking to the prepared agenda can be one of the most challenging tasks of meeting facilitators. People have opinions or pet projects they want to talk about, people get distracted and go off topic, people focus on detail when the meeting was called to discuss the big picture. So how do you effectively stay on topic? You focus on identifying who, what and when. Who will be responsible for what action by when. A lot of discussion will revolve around this. After all, that's why you have meetings, but it's important to push for closure. Keep the pressure on identifying who, what, when. If you're having difficulty getting closure on those questions, consider whether you can table the decision until another time, after the team has gathered more information, or another decision allows closure to happen. At Intel, the multinational technology company, all meetings are planned according to four different decision-making approaches, which help attendees understand the purpose of the meeting. The first approach is authoritative. This is the kind of meeting where the leadership is sharing information with employees and has full control of the information. The information flows mostly in one direction. The second approach is consultative. In this approach, the leader needs to make a decision, and is seeking input from his or her team in order to do so. Another approach is voting, where the purpose of the meeting is to discuss an issue, and then everyone has an opportunity to vote on the decision. And finally, there is consensus. Where the purpose of the meeting is to come to an agreement on the issue. You may not get 100% agreement, but at least everyone we will have had an opportunity to weigh in. This kind of decision-making clarity helps participants understand the purpose and the expected outcome of the meeting. In addition to keeping the meeting focused, the facilitator must also control other elements. Such as conversation monopolizers, or participants who are too focused on their emails, or some who may have great ideas but don't speak up. Here are some phrases that can help you strike a balance in the conversation. For controlling those who like to talk a lot, try the following. Let's table that discussion until later. That's not the focus of today's meeting. I appreciate what Jake said, but now I'd like to hear from the rest of you. To encourage participation from others try these. That's an interesting point. Tell me more. Catherine made the point that... Let's discuss that further. George, you have experience in this area. What is your opinion on the direction we're taking? Another factor that has a major impact on the effectiveness of a meeting, is others using email, text, or instant messaging during the meeting. Let's be honest, we've all been at a meeting where we're tempted to check our email. Maybe the conversation was not directly related to us. Maybe our involvement in the meeting has already passed. Either way. I think we can all agree that meetings will run more smoothly and end more quickly if everyone gives their attention. So what can you do as a meeting facilitator to make sure everyone stays focused? First of all, set ground rules. Ask everyone to mute their phones. Ask them to refrain from checking their emails or texts and promise in return to get them out of the meeting on time. If your meeting is longer than an hour give everyone short breaks to check in with their emails. After all the emails keep coming even if they're in a meeting. Finally, make the most of your meeting by closing with a summary of what was discussed. Review any action items and those persons who are responsible for them. And list any specific, near-term deadlines. Remember that your goal for the meeting is who, what, when. If possible, do this also via email to make it perfectly clear what needs to be done and to have a tangible record of what was discussed. Now, let's do a quick review of the key takeaways of this lesson. Consider whether the meeting is better suited for email or phone calls. Who should be included, and what the purpose is? Prepare a detailed agenda, and send it to participants ahead of time. Maintain control over the conversation, and stick to the agenda by focusing on a push for closure. Who will be responsible for what by when? Close the meeting by summarizing what was discussed and identifying individuals who are responsible for tasks. Follow up with an email when possible. In the next video, we'll focus more on the unique challenges of conference calling. I think we've already experienced them. See you then, and thanks for watching English for Management and Leadership.