Personal Meeting Strategies



How to Excel at Work

Adekunle Olumide, OON  

Mr. Adekunle Olumide, OON, a distinguished diplomat, has held several key positions including Federal Permanent Secretary in Nigeria, first Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry, amongst others. He also served as an Independent Non-Executive Director of United Bank for Africa Plc and was the Chairman of the Board Audit Committee.

I am pleased to share with you 3 strategies that have assisted me in chairing successful meetings over the period.

1. Careful Preparation. Based on experience, I have found that one of the key prerequisites for a successful meeting is the careful preparation of background documents or working papers relevant to the Agenda of the meeting and circulating them in advance to all participants. This basic requirement cannot be over emphasized as a huge success factor in meetings as it ensures that discussions are better informed and incisive, while reasoned decisions are reached within a short time span. It is for this reason that I have always insisted that preparatory informative documentation should as far as possible be provided in advance to participants to facilitate successful meetings.

2. Flexibility and Time Management. In steering meetings, I have endeavored to be patient and flexible to enable all participants express their viewpoints on all relevant items, while paying attention to prudent time management. This strategy ensures that deliberations are wide-ranging, analytical and inclusive, while decisions are rich, solid and more satisfactory. However, while I allow all participants to air their views freely, I also appeal to them to avoid repeating themselves or digressing too often from the subject under discussion so that the meeting is focused and concluded within a reasonable timeframe. It is commonplace to see some frustrated participants leave poorly managed meetings for other engagements on the score of their time being wasted at unduly long meetings. 

3. Periodic Summary of Deliberations at Meetings. One of the eective strategies that I have adopted in conducting successful meetings is the timely provision of the summary of deliberations on each item once the emerging consensus or majority position is clear cut. This enables the meeting to be better focused and acceptable conclusions arrived at without unduly prolonging the discussions or allowing uncertainty to creep in. This approach also assists in the preparation of accurate minutes of meetings. 

How to Excel at Meetings by Adekunle Olumide