Informal discussions happen all the time – you may well have several of these with your team mates when writing up the Concept Report for your group project. However all stages and decisions in a project need to be documented and this is done by formal meetings. When dealing with formal meetings, there is a specific procedure to be followed:
Let everyone involved know that you are requesting a meeting for a particular reason, and give them the date, time and location for this. This is known as a Notice of Meeting and can take the form of a memo, letter, poster.
Before the meeting starts (sometimes given at the same time as the Notice of Meeting), you need to let all those invited to attend the meeting what it is that’s to be discussed and the order that these items will be mentioned in. Known as an Agenda, this lets everyone prepare for the meeting in advance so that they can bring up any important points at the relevant time.
During the meeting itself, it is important that all points raised are noted so that a summary of the full meeting is recorded. These are the Minutes and they should show what was discussed, more especially what was agreed (or ruled out), and any action points – a note of something that has to be carried out, by whom, and usually with a deadline. A member of the team should be assigned to take the minutes, this is called “Minute Taker”.
The Project Manager should chair the meetings. A good Chair helps the meeting to run smoothly and efficiently. They will make sure that:
- all the business is discussed
- everyone’s views are heard
- clear decisions are reached
- the meeting starts and finishes on time.
Next: Types of Meetings