Meetings - Difficult Cloze

Article and voice by Christopher Wright


Activity by Steven Starry - (Profesor en Alcorcón)

Fill in all the gaps with the missing words, then press "Check" to check your answers. Use the "Hint" button to get a free letter if an answer is giving you trouble. You can also click on the "[?]" button to get a clue. Click the this button again for another letter. You can also click on "[?]" for a different hint. Note that you will lose points if you ask for hints or clues! After this activity click on "Next Activity" above.
Rellena los espacios en blanco con las palabras que faltan. Haz click en "Check" para comprobar tus aciertos. Si te resulta difícil la respuesta utiliza el botón "Hint" y te revelará una letra de la casilla en la que te encuentres, puedes clikear varias veces en "Hint" y te dará cada vez una letra más de la palabra. Para obtener ayuda también puedes clikear en el botón "[?]" y te dará una pista. Perderás puntos con las pistas. Si quieres continuar con otra actividad, haz click en el botón "Next Activity" que aparece arriba.

Listen to the text:    MP3    MP3

Technology was supposed to be the answer to the work-life balance and it, decrease the number of meetings! I just didn’t believe the techies.

Well surprise surprise, recent research has said that most managers at least 60% of their time in meetings in comparison to 45% in the 1970´s.
Managers complained that 50% of their time spent in meetings was a complete of time.

So what can be done? Well it’s not rocket science, here are tips I compiled from the experts:

Do we need to meet?
"What a stupid question", you say "of course we need to meet". Well deep and honestly ask yourself and colleagues, "Do we really need to meet?"
Maybe you can solve through other communication tools, talking over a coffee or by using technology such as instant messenger, blogs, emails, forums.
If you do have a meeting, be clear about what you want to either as the meeting leader or as an attendee.

Prepare well
Surprise surprise, those people who prepare answers to key issues before going into a meeting, achieve their goals quickly and .
Only invite those who are essential and relevant to the meeting issues. When giving invitees background information, keep it brief, to the point and relevant. Make sure you the meeting room and check it has everything you need, like a projector and teleconference facilities etc.

Leading a meeting
Some cultures (e.g. North Americans and Northern Europeans) use meeting agendas to prevent and irrelevancy. Other cultures hate being constrained by such a rigid structure and prefer to have more free flowing meetings. Both methods have their merits, what is important to both, is the meeting leader or . This person needs to be respected by all attending, have a strong personality to control the meeting covering all major points/issues and to promote an inclusive atmosphere. In the summary the meeting leader should gain to action points by meeting attendees.

Do what you say
We’ve all been to meetings, where agreed to action points and then at the next meeting turned up and gave excuses. Trust is broken, motivation and nobody takes the meetings seriously. So think before you agree to an action point and if you’re over , just say no and explain why. Shoddy work helps nobody.

Meeting Minutes
It’s the worst job in the meeting, taking meeting minutes, but someone has to keep a record of what was said by everybody. Why why why?
Well those meeting minutes provide if you need to meet again and if so what should be included and not included. Also it makes sure that people do what they say and when! So keep meeting minutes , brief, action-orientated and get all attendees to agree to what they said.

We’ve all been in international meetings where we wanted to speak but we couldn’t and sat in silence, unsure of the correct English expression or phrase to use. Before you go to meetings, remember past occasions where you’ve communicated successfully in English and focus on how great you felt . Take a deep breath and quickly relive that feeling before you speak during the meeting. Secondly use pauses and eye contact, say something like "We should consider........., PAUSE (2 seconds), because............". Pauses focus attention on what you have to say, people its important, while also giving you time to think.

Respect people
Well I’m not suggesting we’re rude people or we manners. However in the heat of the moment, we often forget our manners, interrupting and shouting at people we don’t agree with. Often we become emotional and make issues personal and make personal comments instead of things objective. This maybe acceptable in some cultures but others find it confrontational and not the best way to facilitate cooperation. So agree meeting rules before starting a meeting and don’t be afraid to remind people of these during the meeting!