A meeting or conference is a gathering of influential people who come together to discuss important issues with many people. This article will cover in-depth about meetings and conferences in an office.
Meaning of Meeting and Conference
All organizations, whether governmental or private, business or service, must decide on various issues through debate. They must develop plans and policies with the help of the appropriate personnel. In addition, other interested parties, such as shareholders, employees, and debtors, should be informed about the organization’s progress and achievements. To accomplish these goals, the organization convenes the relevant parties at a predetermined location and time known as a meeting. A conference is a gathering organized to discuss important issues with many people.
Thus, a meeting is a gathering of two or more people to decide on a problem through discussion in response to prior notice of the subject matter, place, date, and time. It is held to discuss a specific topic, known as the agenda or resolution. Meeting members are given advance notice of the agenda, location, date, and time of the meeting via written or verbal communication so that they can gather at a specific location and time for the same purpose.
Types of Meeting
Different types of meetings are held in offices and organizations depending on the time and situation. So, according to the meeting’s objectives or purpose. It can be classified into several types. Some of them are discussed further down.
(i) Confidential or personal meeting:
A confidential or secret meeting is held between a few selected responsible persons to discuss and decide on a private subject matter. Unlike a mass meeting, this meeting is not open to the public. Typically, confidential meetings are held to decide specific agenda items, such as formulating an organization’s plans and policies and maintaining peace and security in the country. Because it is secret, the agenda, venue, date, and time are given to the responsible persons in secret via written means such as letters and circulars.
Similarly, the outcome of the confidential meeting is kept a secret among the members. It could also happen under certain conditions and circumstances.
(ii) Committee meeting:
A committee is a group formed to perform particular tasks. The government and other organizations form the committee based on their needs. A committee can be divided into temporary and permanent based on the time limit. A temporary committee is formed for a short period. Similarly, a committee formed permanently is referred to as a permanent committee. The committee is in charge of preparing a report following extensive research, study, and investigation.
A committee meeting is a gathering of committee members who meet during their working hours. It is held regularly to discuss and make decisions on the problems that committee members face. The temporary committee will be disbanded once an assigned responsibility has been completed.
(iii) Board meeting:
The board refers to a group of shareholders elected or selected from among the shareholders because it is impractical and impossible for all shareholders to be on the board due to their large number. The board is fully responsible for the operation and management of the company, where many problems may arise. So, to discuss its management and operation, a board meeting is held regularly between the board of directors. This meeting is explicitly held to discuss current problems and issues, policies, management, and administration of the company. If there is a long gap between meetings, prior notice is given in writing.
A board meeting should be held six times a year, according to the Nepal Company Act 2063. Two meetings should last up to three months. Similarly, for a quorum to be present, at least 51% of the board of directors must be present.
(iv) Regular and emergency meetings:
Regular meetings are held following the provisions of the parties’, companies’, and institutions’ memoranda. It is done regularly at a set time interval or over a set period. Before the regular meeting, an emergency meeting is held among the available members to discuss and decide on specific problems and issues. One must act before regular meetings to make decisions in an emergency. As a result, an emergency meeting is called, and decisions are made, which are then presented to regular meetings for approval.
(v) Uni-lateral and Multi-lateral meeting:
A unilateral meeting is held between members of the same organization or political party to discuss specific problems and issues to make decisions. A multi-lateral meeting is held between members of more than two organizations or political parties to discuss and make decisions on common issues. Similarly, a meeting of members of two organizations or countries is referred to as a bilateral meeting.
- What We Must Know About Office Resources
- Office Personnel Explained in less than 3000 Words
- Learn Everything Regarding Correspondence
Types of Conference
(i) Mass meeting:
The term “mass” refers to the involvement of many people. As a result, a mass meeting is defined as an open gathering of many people. It is also known as a public meeting because the general public is invited to attend. A mass meeting is held to learn about the public’s social, religious, and political interests and opinions to better society. Because it reaches many people, advance notice of the agenda, venue, date, and time are distributed through mass media such as radio, television, newspapers, and loudspeakers.
In this case, only a few people with extensive knowledge of a particular subject are invited to serve as experts. They give speeches, and the audience listens. They will only be able to say some things openly due to the large number of people participating. Before the meeting, the names of the experts who will deliver speeches are finalized. As a result, it is preferable to refer to it as a conference.
(ii) Annual general meeting:
A company’s management is still in the hands of its board of directors. A few shareholders are selected or voted in to form the board. The remaining stockholders who do not serve on the board are also actual owners of the company, but they are unaware of the company’s position unless the board informs them. As a result, the board convenes an annual general meeting of stockholders to update them on the company’s progress and achievements. The annual general meeting is so named because it is held only once a year. As a result, the annual general meeting is a shareholder assembly.
At least 21 days before the meeting, the location, agenda, date, and time are announced. The notice should be published in a popular newspaper in case of a public limited company. According to the Nepal Company Act 2063, the time between two such meetings cannot exceed fifteen months. It is the most crucial type of meeting for a business. The major decisions of a company are made at this meeting, and the board of directors is responsible for carrying them out. The primary purpose of the annual general meeting is to declare the dividend, elect the board of directors, discuss the annual financial report and other reports presented by the chairman and auditor, appoint a new auditor and fix his/her remuneration, and appoint a new auditor and to fix his/her remuneration.
(iii) Extraordinary meeting:
An annual general meeting is typically held once a year to discuss and make decisions on significant issues. Such severe and primary issues may arise even after the annual general meeting, which the board of directors can only resolve. To discuss and resolve such significant issues, the board calls an extraordinary meeting to which shareholders are invited. It is held between two annual general meetings because annual general meetings are only held once a year. It is called extraordinary or urgent because it is held in a hurry to discuss something extraordinary.
The shareholders are given advance notice of the meeting’s location, date, time, and subject matter at least 21 days before the meeting. Similarly, the board should inform the shareholders of the reason for calling this meeting, so they are mentally prepared for such a meeting. The board of directors usually calls an extraordinary meeting. However, it can also be held at the request of 10% paid-up capital shareholders in exceptional circumstances. The topics discussed at the annual general meeting will not be discussed at the extraordinary meeting.
(iv) General convention:
A general convention is a large gathering of political party members. It is organized to select and elect party leadership, apparatus of memorandum, policy changes, and strategies, and to direct the party. The General Assembly provides guidelines to the party, which amends or changes some policies and makes decisions on political cases or political issues. It also takes appropriate action against leaders, evaluates the party’s performance, and approves the reports presented by the leaders.
Differences between Meetings and Conferences
In general, the terms meeting and conference refer to the same thing. However, if we investigate further, we may discover some fundamental differences. In reality, they are not the same for the following reasons:
|1. There are fewer people at the meeting.||1. A conference attracts a large number of people. It is open to everyone.|
|2. Prior notice of the agenda, venue, date, and time is usually provided through written communication such as a letter or circular.||2. The agenda, venue, date, and time are announced in advance via mass media such as TV, radio, newspaper, or loudspeaker.|
|3. An office usually organizes it to solve organizational problems or create day-to-day operations rules and regulations.||3. It is organized by political parties, religious institutions, and large corporations to provide information about current events.|
|4. Each member has the right to debate the agenda to reach a decision.||4. Only a few experts speak on a specific topic, and everyone else listens.|
|5. It is regular in nature.||5. It occurs on occasion.|
Importance of Meeting
Meetings are essential in any office, whether government or private, service or business. As the saying goes, “many heads are better than one,” so in a meeting, several people present their opinions, points of view, and logic on a specific subject matter to make decisions. It means that problems are solved collaboratively in a meeting, which may eventually lead to the organization’s success. The following points emphasize the significance of the meeting.
(i) It facilitates the collection of various people’s perspectives and suggestions on a problem, from which the office derives the best solution.
(ii) It aids in the democratic resolution of the problem because all members have an equal right to debate.
(iii) It aids in formulating plans and policies because meeting decisions serve as a guideline.
(iv) It informs concerned parties about an organization’s progress, accomplishments, and current situation.
(v) It aids in legalizing any case because decisions made jointly are sometimes the only valid ones.
Forms of Assembly or Meeting
In general, assemblies or meetings are organized to allow meeting members to exchange ideas to hold everyone involved accountable for the decisions made. Therefore, they are practical tools for exchanging and communicating ideas and information. Their forms are discussed below concerning the meeting’s subject or agenda and the decisions made by the assembly or meetings.
(i) Notice assembly or meeting: Notice Assembly or Meeting refers to a meeting or assembly organized by any committee or organization to inform about its current or future programs. It is also set up to communicate its decisions and circulars to all members. All stakeholders are invited to attend the Notice Assembly or Meeting.
(ii) Discussion assembly or meeting: Discussion Assembly or Meeting refers to a meeting or assembly organized by any committee or organization to make decisions or prepare plans and policies through joint discussion among meeting members. Meeting members are given advance notice of the agenda of such meetings. They discuss the agenda and make decisions together. Such gatherings occur regularly.
(iii) Approval assembly or meeting: The approval assembly or meeting is a meeting or assembly organized to approve a decision made by a committee, office chief, chairman, or lower level from the concerned upper-level authority. This meeting was called to get approval for decisions made by a chief or a committee without consulting the relevant authoritative committee due to time constraints or other similar factors. The relevant authoritative committee approves a chief’s decisions at this meeting.
A seminar is typically defined as a gathering of professionals and experts in the relevant subject to discuss and share their perspectives and experiences on a specific topic. It is structured to clarify information on a specific subject. Thus, the problems associated with a specific subject or issue and their corrective measures are identified.
Finally, a conclusion is reached with the assistance of seminar resource persons and experts. A seminar is a type of informal gathering. Its classification is based on the subject. It means that the seminar’s name is given according to the subject, such as a conference of poets, a conference of scientists, a press conference, a conference on policy making, and so on. On the other hand, a seminar is a more formal setting. It is carried out systematically.
To summarize, the following steps are taken when conducting a seminar.
- Participants’ arrival.
- The chairperson takes his or her seat.
- The chief guest takes his or her seat.
- Welcome speech
- The seminar’s official start
- Experts’ and celebrities’ speeches
- Seminar objectives and topical group discussions
- Group project presentation
- Concluding remarks and a vote of thanks
- Seminar conclusion
Minutes of Meeting
The decisions made at a meeting will be helpful in the future. Thus, whatever decisions are made in the meeting are properly and systematically recorded and preserved along with resolutions so they can be easily found when needed. This is known as meeting minutes. The process of preserving resolutions and decisions is known as meeting minutes.
The resolutions and decisions are recorded in the minute book for preservation. Depending on the type of meeting, each organization keeps different minute books. Therefore, it means that separate meeting minute books are used.
A. Importance of Minutes
Because the minute is regarded as the document reflecting the discussed resolutions and decisions, it is critical to define it as follows.
(a) It is significant because it provides resolutions and decisions whenever needed. As a result, minutes can be used to recall past office activities even in the future.
(b) For the office to run smoothly, solid plans, policies, rules, and regulations are required. Minutes provide the information to create robust plans, policies, rules, and regulations. As a result, the minute is critical for the smooth operation of an organization.
(c) Executives must carry out organizational activities following the decisions made at the meeting. Thus, the minutes instruct executives on how to carry out their duties within a specific time frame.
(d) A “Minute” is a written document containing the rules and regulations established at meetings. As a result, it can be used as evidence in the resolution of office misunderstandings and disputes.
(e) By collecting signatures from meeting attendees, the minutes help to legalize the decision made at the meeting.
B. Drafting a Minute
As stated, a decision is made in the meeting following a discussion of the resolution. All decisions made during the meeting should be documented for future reference. So, drafting a minute refers to noting down all of the decisions and the type of meeting, present members, and resolution in a minute book. In the office, the secretary drafts the minute. In reality, drafting a minute is difficult, so only an experienced secretary can draft simple, logical, and legal minutes.
C. Procedures and Considerations of Drafting a Minute
Because drafting a minute is complex, the secretary should keep the following points in mind.
- The date should be mentioned at the top right-hand side of the minute, indicating the date of the particular meetings.
- Different meetings should have separate minute books.
- The name of the chairman, under whose chairmanship the meeting is held, should be written.
- The secretary’s and meeting attendees’ names should be written sequentially according to the position.
- The discussed subject and decisions should be written in serial order. In addition, the headings of discussed subjects should be underlined or written in bold for easy identification.
- Meeting decisions should be communicated to all members within 15 days.
- The chairman, secretary, and members’ signatures should be collected at the bottom of each page to make the minute valid.
- No extra pages should be pasted to the minute book with gum or tape.
- It should be written in simple, straightforward language to ensure legibility.
- Crossing out and rubbing off should be avoided to the greatest extent possible. If this occurs, the chairman’s signature is required.
D. Endorsement of Minutes
Endorsement of minutes refers to the act of making meeting decisions legally binding. The chairman, secretary, and members sign the minutes to make them legally binding. As a result, the chairman, secretary, and members signed each page of the minute book. Typically, all necessary signatures are collected on the same day. However, if the decisions are brief, such as a few lines, the secretary immediately records them in the book and collects signatures on the spot.
However, if the decisions reached in a meeting are shorter, it will be possible to draft a fair minute on the same day. In such a case, a rough copy of the minutes is sent to each member, along with the necessary time, i.e., 24 hours, 36 hours, or a specific period to object. If no members object within the time frame specified, the minute is presumed to be approved. The secretary then takes a fair minute. Finally, members’ signatures are collected at the next meeting or by any other method. The minutes are supposed to be endorsed after the members have signed the book.
To sum up, a meeting is a gathering of two or more people to discuss and resolve a problem. It is held to discuss a specific topic, known as the agenda or resolution. The agenda, location, date, and time of the meeting are all communicated to meeting participants in advance. A conference is a large gathering of people who come together to discuss important issues.