OK, hands up if you’ve ever felt irritated when a meeting is just about finished but it gets stuck on General Business and it drags on and on and on..
To me, this is the worst part of a meeting. It’s like punishment!
Yes, General Business can be painful for the following reasons:
- it becomes a free-for-all; anyone and everyone, particularly those who haven’t had the opportunity to say much in a meeting, feel that this is the place to get their point across – any point!
- it can take a long time sometimes almost as long as the actual meeting
- a chance to either re-litigate things that have just been discussed or things from another meeting
- a chance to discuss anything regardless if it relates to the meeting or not.
Here are some tips to help you and the chairman manage this part of the meeting.
Be gone with you!
A lot of organisations are now removing the General Business section from the agenda. That solves the problem nice and easy!
Pre-warning No. 1
If someone wants to raise a matter at the meeting then it must go on the agenda as a separate item before the agenda is distributed.
Pre-warning No. 2
You can still have a General Business section but at the meeting, just after Apologies, members can flag that they would like to bring up a matter for discussion. This agenda item is called “Items for General Business”. The reasons for this are:
- everyone gets to hear what that issue is so there’s some pre-warning
- the chairman can either approve or disaprove the item at that point
- everyone knows that once you get to the section of General Business that there will only be a certain number of people who have additional items of General Business.
The above three tips should help go some way to managing what can be an arduous part of the meeting.
Do you have any tips for managing General Business?