Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Speaking Tips - conferences and meeting

B. Speaking

I. Participating in conferences / meetings

It is necessary to develop certain cooperative skills to function successfully as members of a group or team when participating in a meeting or seminar. You need to practice communication techniques and interactive behaviour because the most effective teams spend time “working” on their team as well as working on the project they have been assigned.

Meetings need to have three defined roles:

. The Facilitator helps the group achieve their goals, guides the process of the meeting and creates an environment for open discussion.
. The Recorder records what happens in a meeting on newsprint, stays neutral and captures distinct ideas.
. Group Members contribute ideas, make sure the recorder writes down ideas correctly, state concerns openly, encourage participation of other group members and share the power of decision making.

The Principles of a Successful Meeting are:

.Shared Responsibility - everyone in the meeting should play an active role in making the meeting a success.
.Collaborative Attitude - It is the mind-set that guides individuals to act in a cooperative manner. It is the realisation that it is important to take time to get everyone on board - going slow to go fast.
. Strategic Thinking - The process of selecting an appropriate course of action during a meeting.
Some methods help create a productive environment for team cooperation and collaboration.These include,
Preventions - actions used before or during a discussion to keep the group focussed and
Interventions - actions used during a meeting to help get the team
refocussed.

At the end of the meeting, the process by which we reflect on an experience and come to conclusions based on that experience is called ‘closure’ or ‘debriefing’. This is when much of the learning takes place. This involves asking questions which allows members
of the group to think through an experience from beginning to end. It is another way of making observations about group processes and applying what is learned to new situations.

Task 1:

a. Three managers are holding a meeting. Put the sentences in the box into the correct spaces to complete the conversation.


b. Find out the meanings of the words and phrases that have been highlighted in the conversation.

a. Are we sure it would save money?
b. Yes, I am.
c. That’s true. We can’t expect long-term commitment from people who have short-term contracts.
d. That’s a good point. Any reaction to that Ramesh?
e. It wouldn’t be right. It would cause disputes.
f. It’s a very good idea. It’d enable us reduce our wage costs.

Rupa : We need to decide whether we should subcontract the security work to independent operators. What do you think, Manoj?
Manoj : (1) ……………………………………………
Ramesh : Are you suggesting we should make the present security staff redundant then?
Manoj : (2) …………………………………………….
Rupa : How do you feel about that, Ramesh?
Ramesh : (3) ……………………………………………
Manoj : Not in today’s economic climate. We’d consult the unions and we’d try to get our present staff taken on by the subcontractors.
Rupa : (4) ……………………………………………
Manoj : Yes – and it’d save time as well. We’d be able to delegate all the management tasks associated with security to the subcontractors. It’d mean we could concentrate on the core business.
Rupa : (5) ……………………………………………
Ramesh : Yes, I don’t like it. It’d be risky to have security staff who were not directly employed by us. You know how these security firms are like. People work for them for a couple of weeks and then disappear.
Rupa : (6) …………………………………………
Ramesh : Exactly. It would be very short-sighted to subcontract this work.

Task 2: You are the senior manager of a large company which employs approximately 400 people. Last year staff absenceeism due to stress-related illnesses cost the company Rs.5,85,000. You have a budget of Rs.10,00,000 to spend over the next three years on reducing staff stress levels.You must make a decision during this meeting as the
managing director must report your suggestions to the board of directors tomorrow.

Use the following options while discussing:

1. How many employees could benefit
2. The physical and mental health advantages
3. How long the benefits might last

Also include the provisions to be made for implementing the programme -

1. small multi-facility gym
2. swimming pool
3. stress management course
4. on-site doctor, masseur and counsellor
5. subsidised health food in staff canteen
6. flexitime for all workers
7. unwind rooms with comfortable furniture, books, plants, etc.

Task 4: Prepare a 5 minute presentation on any topic of your
choice.

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