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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

Introduction

The purpose of a problem-solving meeting is TO FOSTER DISCUSSION of your topic. Most people are not trained for leading participative discussions. Asked to chair a meeting, managers may have no idea how to proceed. Most of the time people fall back on their own experiences, which can be good or bad, but at least it's a guideline, so the thinking goes. This section shows how to lead a discussion so that the meeting objective is achieved, participants have enough "air time" so that they feel their issues have been heard, and managers gather employee input to guide decision making. Meanwhile, remember this!

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Most managerial work is conducted through meetings, since meetings function as information-processing systems. People discuss issues and make decisions which, in turn, form organizational policy. Thus, organizations very well may succeed or fail based on the strength of their meetings!

What is a "good" meeting? Issues are discussed, and decisions are made. The decisions are well-considered and require no rework. Plus, those who attend enjoy the process and feel good about their participation, even if their favored view isn't selected as the best choice (Tropman, 1996). This is the goal of meeting management—having "good" meetings! Now, if a meeting consists of well-considered decisions in which people participate fully, how do we do the "well-considered" part? Through effective discussions!

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