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The Top 50 Management Dilemmas by Roger Delves, Sona Sherratt

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Meetings that derail

A meeting that derails is a meeting whose objective is missed or set aside because of something that happens within the meeting. Derailment could be caused by interpersonal friction or by the meeting unearthing an issue which is both unexpected and urgent. Good planning, preparation and meeting management can minimise the risk of derailment, but equally important is to know how to deal with it when you can’t prevent it.

First, think:

  • How prepared are you for derailment? Do you understand as well as you can what the attendees’ views and feelings are about the agenda contents or the meeting’s stated objectives? Are there points in the meeting where these are likely to differ significantly from your own?
  • What could you ...

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