If you are invited to, say, a sales meeting, you should first check if you need to attend the full meeting or if it would be better simply to have a thirty minute slot at the meeting in question either at the start or at the end of the meeting as appropriate. This way you can focus on the issues at hand and seek the cooperation and help of those present to deal with the issues of the day. Whether you offer to attend at the start or the end depends on the length of the meeting. If it is just a two hour session then either will work. If it is a full day meeting, you are probably better getting in at the start and then giving them the time and space to get on with the rest of the issues. These issues will be then dealt be with, with the credit agenda in mind, whereas if you arrive at the end they may have already agreed some action points that are at odds with the requirements of the credit function. Furthermore at the end of a long day, it is possible that all thoughts are on finishing the meeting as quickly as possible, and some important issues may be missed.
No matter what department calls the meeting it is important that you first talk to the person hosting the meeting in advance to agree what you are going to cover and best of all is if you can get their support in advance for any change you are looking to introduce, this will strengthen your position when you are in the meeting.
I suppose the main question to ask about all meetings is: are we having a meeting for the sake of having a meeting? Is there a clear agenda and clear desired outcome for this and every meeting I attend? Unless there is a clear agenda and clear outcomes, in my mind some meetings can be a complete waste of time, so if it isn’t clear when you send or receive the invitation, it is up to you to make sure it is clear before the meeting starts.
Every meeting should have a clear agenda and it should have clear minutes – even action points with a person’s name and completion date beside them is often sufficient to make sure the meeting achieved what it set out to do.
For the meetings you organise yourself, it can be helpful if you circulate the minutes yourself, this should be done on the day of the meeting, preferably within an hour of the meeting ending. Because the meeting isn’t over until the minutes are circulated, I would recommend that you remain in the meeting room until the minutes have been finalised and circulated after everyone else has left. . Then the final task is to put the action points with the appointed person and the completion date in your own to follow up with the relevant people on the appointed day or depending on their track record – the day before the task is due. A quick call to say hi and a gentle reminder that the action point is down to be completed by the specified time will make sure everyone takes their action points seriously and you don’t end up having the same meeting over and over again – there is nothing more frustrating.
Because meetings take up so much time the onus is on you to make sure they are managed properly and always bring about the desired result. Of course no one person is going to get their own way 100% of the time, there will be time to compromise and offer a deal, that goes with the territory. When something is agreed it must be implemented as soon as possible, to keep the momentum and the meeting vital in the ongoing evolution of your business.