How to run a Practice Meeting.

Learning is always happening, but there is a difference of approach for the two types of meetings common in GP and GDP practices. These summaries give you some pithy hints:

An Educational Meeting

A Business Meeting

An Educational meeting for Drs & Nurses

Essential: Appoint a Facilitator - the following is for them:

Be clear about your objectives.

Take 2 minutes' thought to complete this sentence. You will discover what you are aiming to achieve:

"By the end of the meeting, participants will…."

Now think about how this can be done, bearing in mind the individuals in your group:

  • What do we need to learn? Write this down as a list.
  • Who has the knowledge / expertise we need?
  • Remember the members of the group themselves have huge collective experience.
  • If inviting an Expert, give them a list of what you need to learn either before the meeting or [if they agree] at the start of the meeting.
  • Ensure that they stick to your list, and if they wander off into their favourite but irrelevant research project, interrupt them kindly but firmly.
  • Vary the pace. No one can listen to a speaker and take it in for longer than 30 mins. This is an evidence-based fact. Both teachers and learners repeatedly ignore this. Try: "Shall we stop there for a spot of Q&A?"
  • Involve the learners - the more it is a dialogue, the more people learn. You do this all the time in consultations - summarise, consolidate, ask for more depth if needed.
  • Evaluate at the end by asking simple free-text questions, eg: What went well? What could have been done better? Collect their answers and study them later - you will feel a glow, but use this to refine what you do.

On the day of the meeting, remember that you as Facilitator are at the helm. However clever, learned and articulate the Consultant, only you know what the group needs to learn. If in doubt, be like John Humphries. (OK maybe Evan Davis.)

A Business Meeting for Partners

Essential: Appoint a Chairman - the following is for them:

Before the meeting:

  • Have an agenda which every member has agreed to / contributed to.
  • Consider how much debate there will be about each item. Specify a time limit for each item, but be realistic.
  • Agendas often are wildly unrealistic for the time allowed. But this means either debate will need to be focused and very time-efficient, or not all items can be dealt with today. It's up to them to decide.
  • A happy partnership is an equal partnership where everyone's voice is heard.

At the meeting:

  • The Chairman must be impartial, assertive but tactful.
  • Ensure that each member has their say. Not having ownership of decisions is a prime reason for subsequent action being half-hearted or non existent.
  • Summarizing - like we do in consultations - is a very useful tool.
  • A quiet member can be asked, "Are you happy with this?"
  • An articulate member who is tending to dominate can be interrupted and summarized: "So Fred, in summary you think that…"
  • A confrontational member, eg: who says, "This is the wrong way to go about it. You're not chairing properly." Can be handled by saying, "What does everyone else think about that?"
  • Write (or get someone to write) a synopsis of each decision, plus the main arguments and their protagonists.
  • Give action points (tasks) to members, but ensure they are happy with that. Ensure there is a time limit for actions.
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  • Credits
  • Project Director and original idea: Roger Crabtree
  • Research and Text: Lynn Collins
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