How to Conduct Informal Meetings

When you think of formal meetings, you might think of a formal meeting with a defined agenda, strict protocol and an appointed speaker who leads discussions. A person could note notes in a formal manner and with a certain structure. For informal meetings, these guidelines may not be in place.

The subject of the meeting will largely define the atmosphere and how people interact whether through discussion or voting. A meeting that is solely focused on the issue of old work and loose ends could provide a fantastic opportunity to discuss important issues that were left unfinished and how they could impact future work. A meeting that is focused of new business plans could be a great chance to discuss the new initiatives, and assess how they relate to the overall strategy of the company.

It is essential that the participants feel comfortable in expressing their thoughts during the group, and they do not worry about how their views will be accepted. Consider asking a participant who is hesitant to speak to elaborate on a topic that was brought up by a group member. This will help keep the discussion on the ideas itself rather than the possibility of a clash of personalities. As the meeting progresses, it is important to ensure that the conversation stays on-topic and that the quorum of participants is present. It is also helpful to follow up with attendees following the meeting and solicit feedback, as this will highlight the importance of their participation in the meeting’s outcome.

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