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man talking with coworkers in business environment

The Meeting Scam

Do you attend meetings that have an unclear purpose, or which fail to display any structured process? Conversely, these meetings may seem to possess a structure that is focused, but the process is not easily understood by the attendees. A bizarre and convoluted process is intended to confuse and bewilder those in attendance; since the expectation is that the attendees will not show up for future meetings. If attendees do attend future meetings, it is likely, based on past experiences that they will not stay long enough to be permitted to ask any questions. The seeming farce – of a so-called meeting – is more about grandstanding and for self-glorification by presenters, than it is an opportunity for dialogue between those in attendance.

Many board or committee meetings will have a fixed arrangement, which may possibly be based on Roberts Rules of Order (http://www.robertsrules.org). Other options include a conceived process for meetings that has been created by the board or committee. Rarely will members, residents or visitors to the meeting actually understand the process that the meeting will follow.

If you live in a condominium and are having issues in communication, with your board or management office, then you can obtain assistance from the Condominium Dispute Resolution Centre (http://condoadr.ca). Oftentimes a board meeting, at a condominium building, will follow a process whereby the current board members are introduced; along with a short summary of their CV’s, accompanied by a brief introduction by each member. The Building Manager and their assistant will likely also be in attendance; as well as a representative from the management corporation that oversees the building, on behalf of the board. This dignitary will either be a Vice-President or other top level executive, from the management company.

After the so-called opening address, the Auditor’s Report will follow. Then the President of the board will give over a speech, which praises the great work of the management team, including the excellent services of the cleaning staff. A review of expenditures, along with the current amounts in the main and reserve fund(s) will be discussed. Questions will be ignored or referred to be asked only at the conclusion of the meeting. Elections for positions on the board will be held, after a short summary of the qualifications of each contender. Finally, for those in attendance – who could tolerate the boredom of the dulling procedural madness – arises the opportunity for an open discussion and question and answer period.

If you are displeased with the rigmarole regularly experienced during patterned meetings, then you can choose to not attend them, or you can be prepared for the meeting, by bringing along a book to read. This way you can be productive, during the diatribe, while you are present in the room or you can lose yourself in a good story.

n the room or you can lose yourself in a good story. 

 

men discussing options and business numbers

The Deal Breaker

It may seem as though you have a done deal that is sure to be completed. Even when it may seem as though all documents are ready to be signed there is no real deal, until the contract is signed, sealed and delivered. You may have had a promising conversation with a capable business prospect, but can you be certain that all of the items of consideration were equally understood? During a high-spirited discussion both parties may state many seemingly relevant details as possible to get their point across. While making the big sales pitch one may not hear the reply or rebuttal, or the sale presentation simultaneously being promoted by the other party.

After some perceived understanding of the potential to partner, it is jointly decided that a meeting should be arranged. Both attendees have their fixed perspective on how the meeting should unfold. During the meeting, however, different ideas seem to surface, other than those thought to have been originally presented during the telephone communication. It could be the wrong person shows up for the meeting; not being the initial party with whom one spoke or an expected party is conveniently available to attend.

Whatever you decide, be sure that you are professional in your demeanour and cordial by way of reply. If you decide to conduct / participate in the conference you should be sure to have a pen, a notebook and business cares, and above all else – dress to impress. Your image should always demonstrate that you are deserving of respect, irrelevant of what the other party may decide for the deal.

During the meeting be sure to focus the discussion to resemble, however, modestly, the initial telephone conversation, which preceded it. If you are concerned that an expected party is not in attendance, express your dismay immediately, at the onset of the conference. Request, if possible and practicable that this so called promised participant be summoned to appear.

Be sure your ideas are considered and fully listened to by the parties in attendance. Also be sure you listen intently to the ideas presented by the other party. If not offered, politely request a business card from the other people at the meeting or ask them to e-mail you their Vcard.

If during the conversation topics are discussed that do not parallel the original phone conversation, then you should ask for clarification about the actual real intention for the meeting. Is there a hidden agenda? Will there be an unexpected sales pitch or some attempt to run a deceptive scam. While you may feel slighted if the meeting doe not turn out as initially planned, nevertheless you need to continue to seem professional throughout the consultation. If you don’t want to appear as being impolite during the meeting you can later send a follow-up e-mail to request clarification on the next step and as way of summarizing the specific goals of the conference. You can state you believe to be the next step in the process towards the growth of the business relationship, based on details of the meeting.

If the other party has different or varied goals, than those that you had relied upon to agree to attend the meeting, then he / she will clearly state the same in his / her reply to your correspondence. If it is not obvious that there is not a ‘meeting of the minds’, then you can just chalk this experience up to a lesson learnt. Perhaps this knowledge will help you realize that you should be more thorough during your preliminary discussions.

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