Perception Business Skills
Richard Mulvey  
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This book is Co-Authored by Richard Mulvey and Roger Knowles

Roger Knowles is well known as a specialist family law attorney, newspaper columnist, university lecturer, first class public speaker and professional meeting specialist .


Chapter 1


Chapter 2

Do we really need a meeting?
What are the objectives?
Who should attend
Decide on Venue & Layout

Chapter 3


Chapter 4

Monitoring the Meeting
The Chairperson
Ground Rules
Guiding the Discussion

Chapter 5

Handling Difficult People

Chapter 6

Problem Solving

Chapter 7

Minutes / Action Plan

Chapter 8

Legal Aspects of Meetings



Put your hand up if you think that meetings are always a practical, effective, efficient, productive and innovative way to make decisions.....

That’s how we always start a seminar or training course on meeting management and I am sure you will not be surprised to hear we have yet to have any audience do more than stir uncomfortably in their seats.

The next question is usually "How much time do you spend in meetings?". This one starts people thinking as they have probably not made this calculation before. Time is one of business’s most important resources, (see the Businessman’s Pocket Guide to Time Management) and it is horrifying how much of this resource is wasted in meetings.

Take some time now to do the calculation. Add up all the time you spend in meetings in an average month. Start with that big monthly meeting that goes on for 5 or 6 hours. Add to that the weekly meeting with your boss and the similar meeting you have with your team. Next add the time you spend in formal meetings with your customers or suppliers and the other people who want to talk to you. Consider also the committee meetings you attend, the in-house magazine committee, the annual conference committee or the quality control committee, not forgetting your social committees, the school board or the squash club. The list is endless.

The results will vary of course but if you are a business executive in South Africa you will probably spend between 30% and 60% of your time in meetings

This is not just a South African problem. Statistics coming from America suggest that the average executive may spend as much as 75% of his time in meetings and that figure is still growing.

Having worked out how much time you spend in meetings you may like to calculate what those meetings are costing your company.

If we to take a hypothetical Monday morning meeting with 16 executives from 08:00 until 11:00, that meeting may have cost your company as much as R12,000 in salaries for those people attending. This represents an annual expenditure in excess of R624,000.00 and only covers one meeting a week! If you were to add to this a similar calculation for all the meetings your company holds the results are likely to be staggering.

On the other hand it is perhaps a good thing that we spend so long at meetings. If executives spend 60 % of their time attending meetings and all meetings were cancelled, 60% of business people in South Africa would very quickly find themselves out of work and this would add a terrible burden to the already overcrowded golf courses.

Meetings are not, in themselves, bad. A well managed meeting that starts and finishes on time, is well attended by the appropriately prepared people and achieves its objectives, is an important tool for any manager. So some meetings are good, but most meetings are not.

Throughout this book we will be discussing what separates the good from the bad while focusing on the good. We will take a critical and sometimes irreverent look at the meetings you have in your company and offer suggestions as to how they can be improved or sometimes why they should be cancelled. We will look at the preparation that precedes a good meeting, how the agenda should be used and how to structure the meeting to achieve the objectives in the shortest possible time. We will also look at how to manage difficult people in meetings, how to use your meetings to motivate your team and how to use the law regarding formal meetings to your advantage.

Whether you attend or lead meetings this book will help you make the most or your meeting time.