Successful Meetings

Consider a meeting scenario where attendees are roughly about the same age, there is no hierarchy and it is a unofficial meeting. My experience is that when there is no hierarchy (boss –worker/employee) and every one has a right to argue his/her point until the end; the place normally turns to be a fish market. Here are some rules and ethics that should be followed for successful meetings:
1 There should be a definite agenda with allotted time for each topic
2 The meeting place should be in some suitable facility where there are no external disturbances. Arranging meetings over dinner or lunch is more of a socialization meeting than actual discussion and conclusions (if its just 2-3 people it may acceptable)
3 Every person should have a note pad (laptop - any digital gadget) to note his her action points and important issues discussed
4 I always believe there should be a chairperson who can intervene if the discussion is going out of bounds and becoming more of a personal view than helping the cause discussed.
5 One person should be responsible noting meetings minutes and making them available for all members after meeting.
6 Internet access availability solves some simple problems which may take up valuable meeting time
7 Personal communication between the members should be strictly avoided and some sort of discipline should be maintained
8 If the members are from wide variety of backgrounds and countries, communication in respective local languages should be strictly avoided. The standard language (which is normally English) should be followed.
9 Try to keep it short and frequent than one long meeting where one tends to lose his focus.
10 Meeting place should be preferably centrally located thus minimizing the member complains and initial bias.
11 Schedule a suitable time. Keeping the meeting early morning or late night will certainly be counter productive.
12 If the member do not know each other make sure you arrange for name tags for each participating entity
13 Personally I feel snacks should be avoided ( non alcoholic beverages are fine)
14 Last and the most important point, start and end on time

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