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In brief

Getting on Brilliantly: recipes for managing successful meetings

By Annette Zera and Susan Murray

Optimus Publishing pound;65 (includes CD-Rom)

All too often the medium of presentations, courses, seminars, and staff meetings, doesn't match up to the message; useful and perhaps necessary information is lost in your annoyance at the way you're treated.

Getting on Brilliantly recognises that "the way meetings, groups and organisations are run is often very wasteful of talent and intelligence", and offers a host of ideas for making any sort of session work well: what you need; how to break the ice; how to use the space; alternative ways of chairing.

Occasionally there's a suggestion you know would go down like a lead balloon with a roomful of frowning headteachers (the wearing of coloured hats in the Edward de Bono manner, for example) but the book is aimed at a much wider audience, and it's comprehensive enough to offer something for everyone. The CD-Rom has templates and worksheets to back up the ideas.

Anyone who ever has to be any sort of chair, or presenter, or group leader (and who doesn't these days?) is going to find some help. I especially like the simple bits - the list of basics about space and time, for example - comfortable chairs, food and drink, breaks, light and air, doing some walking about. (I'd add "finish 10 minutes early" - always worth a shedload of brownie points.)

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