Most of us have attended well run meetings which conducted business in a friendly but efficient manner; unfortunately, most of us have also been forced to sit through meetings which were nothing more than a shambles. In the well-conducted meetings we usually took the work of the chairperson for granted but in those that were disorganized we could see clearly the need for an efficient and organized chairperson. For those of us tasked with chairing meetings, Bruce Partridge’s book is an easy to follow guide that can help us to conduct meetings efficiently and democratically with effective decision making. Some of the changes Bruce proposes are simply common sense; others, such as dispensing with reading and discussing previously distributed minutes, challenge our in-built attitude that “we’ve always done it this way.” Anecdotes connected to each topic help to humanize what could otherwise be totally abstract. Partridge effectively shows the importance of the chairperson’s role, not only in conducting but also in preparing for and following up from the meeting.
- Jim Manly, United Church minister, former MP for Nanaimo (1980 -1988), writer, social activist, and veteran of many, many meetings
Effective Meetings is especially valuable for chairs of meetings of any type--political, ngo's, businesses, neighborhood associations--but it is also valuable for any one attending meetings. Partridge's advice ensures leaders stay on track. Its messages are dead on for guaranteeing effective outcomes through democratic and people-sensitive decision-making processes.
- Carolyn Redl
Effective Meetings: A Practical Guide is an amazing book, as was its author, my friend and colleague Bruce Partridge. The advice and tools that this book offers can be described with the same words that I would use to describe Bruce’s personality, style and character: practical, insightful, human and warm, direct and strong on core principles, while being soft, gentle and fully respectful of people.
Effective Meetings: A Practical Guide is easy to read. It is written in plain language and contains concise and clear paragraphs and sentences. It is logically organized, making it very easy to pick up common sense tools and core principles for immediate use in meetings. These tools and principles can help focus meetings on an organization’s core mandate, reduce meeting fatigue, boost positive empowerment and engagement, and turn divisive disputes into growth and development opportunities.
As I was reviewing the book, I was thoroughly entertained by the funny cartoons and by the poignant, heartwarming, illustrative, and highly educational anecdotes (which are easy to locate via the different font and special headers). The cartoons and anecdotes were something to anticipate and look forward to as I read through the book.
Bruce and I had several conversations about using rules of order in a pragmatic way that advances problem-solving and good decision making. We both agreed that the rules should be a means to an end, and not an end in itself. Effective Meetings: A Practical Guide clearly embraces this premise.
Effective Meetings: A Practical Guide is an accumulation of Bruce's rich collection of insights and ideas, gained through many years `in the trenches’ of meetings.
- Eli Mina, M.Sc., P.R.P., Registered Parliamentarian, Board Effectiveness Consultant, Registered Parliamentarian, Impartial Meeting Chair, and Trainer, Speaker, Author