Whose meeting is it, anyway?

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in Office Management

You receive a meeting request for your boss, but there’s no agenda attached. You don’t want your boss to walk into the meeting room unprepared, but then again, it isn’t your job to do the organizing work. Is it?

According to Patricia Robb (secretaryhelpline.blogspot.com), an administrative assistant with 30 years’ experience, the person sending out the meeting request would usually be considered the meeting organizer.

On her list of responsibilities: canvassing participants for dates and sending reminders to the meeting chair to ensure an agenda is done.

“If you are not the organizer, you still have a responsibility to provide available dates in a timely manner, set a reminder to make sure there is an agenda and if there isn’t, e-mail to ask for one,” she says. “You also need to make sure your boss is aware of the call-in numbers and, if they are the moderator, that the number is made available to them.”

Make sure you’re organized yourself by using Robb’s checklist before communicating with attendees. You should know:

  • Meeting name, date and name of person you are arranging the meeting for (if you work for multiple people)
  • People required at the meeting
  • Purpose of the meeting
  • Time and location
  • Canvass for available dates (Robb usually doesn’t give more than four dates)
  • Has an agenda been provided?
  • Is the boardroom booked?
  • If it is a teleconference, have the call-in numbers and moderator code been provided?

Tip: To confirm that you aren’t the organizer, Robb suggests the following: “When I provide my boss’s available dates, I usually put in the e-mail ‘I look forward to receiving the agenda (or call-in numbers) and location of the meeting.’”

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