Read the article below about business meetings and the questions on the opposite page.
For each question 13-18, mark one letter (A,B,C or D) on your Answer Sheet for the answer you choose.
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF MEETING
One aspect of business life which many managers are unhappy with is the need to attend meetings. Research indicates that managers will spend between a third and a half of their working lives in meetings. Although most managers would agree that it is hard to think of an alternative to meetings, as a means of considering information and making collective decisions, their length and frequency can cause problems with the workload of even the best-organised executives.
Meetings work best if they take place only when necessary and not as a matter of routine. One example of this is the discussion of personal or career matters between members of staff and their line and personnel managers. Another is during the early stages of a project when the team managing it need to learn to understand and trust one another.
Once it has been decided that a meeting is necessary, decisions need to be taken about who will attend and about the location and length of the meeting. People should only be invited to attend if they are directly involved in the matters under discussion and the agenda should be distributed well in advance. An agenda is vital because it acts as a road map to keep discussion focused and within the time limited allocated. This is also the responsibility of the person chairing the meeting, who should encourage those who say little to speak and stop those who have a great deal to say from talking too much.
At the end of a well organised meeting, people will feel that the meeting has been a success and be pleased they were invited. They will know not only what decisions were made but also the reasons for these decisions. Unfortunately, at the end of a badly organised meeting those present will leave feeling that they have wasted their time and that nothing worthwhile has been achieved.
Much together has been given over the years to ways of keeping meeting short. One man who has no intention of spending half his working life in meeting is Roland Winterson, chief executive of a large manufacturing company. He believes that meetings should be short, sharp and infrequent. “I try to hold no more than two or three meetings a week, attended by a maximum of three people for no longer than half an hour,” he says. “They are clearly aimed at achieving a specific objective, such as making a decision or planning a strategy, and are based on careful preparation. I draw up the agenda for every meeting and circulate it in advance; those attending are expected to study it carefully and should be prepared to both ask and answer questions. Managers are best employed carrying out tasks directly connected with their jobs not attending endless meetings. In business, time is money and spending it in needless meetings that don’t achieve anything can be very costly. Executives should follow the example of lawyers and put a cost on each hour of their time and then decide whether attending a long meeting really is the best way to spend their time.”
13. What do most managers think about meetings?
A. Meetings take up most of their working life.
B. Meetings allow them to monitor decision-making.
C. Meetings prevent them from establishing a routine.
D. Meetings are the only way they know of achieving certain objectives.
14. According to the writer, an example of a valuable meeting is one
A. allows colleagues to achieve a better working relationship.
B. requires managers to discuss staffing needs with personnel.
C. selects a suitable group of people to work together as a team.
D. encourages staff to present ideas on improvements in management.
15. According to the writer the agenda is important because it
A. is seen by everybody before the meeting.
B. helps to give direction to the discussions.
C. contains items of interest to all those present.
D. shows who should speak at each stage of the meeting.
16. The writer says that people leaving a well organised meeting will
A. the reason for their invitation to attend.
B. how the decisions taken were relevant to them.
C. the importance of proposals under discussion.
D. why certain courses of action were agreed upon.
17. What does Roland Winterson say about the meetings that he
A. He aims to hold them on a regular basis.
B. He ensures they have a definite purpose.
C. He requires his managers to draw up the agenda.
D. He uses them to make decisions about strategy.
18. What is Roland Winteson’s opinion about meetings?
A. They ban be a bad use of a manager’s time.
B. Their importance is often underestimated.
C. They frequently result in wrong decisions.
D. Their effectiveness could be improved with better planning.