Are Your Meetings Successful?
It is very frustrating to attend a meeting that is poorly run and unorganized. Don't scare away existing or potential new members; make sure your meetings are a success!
1. Make an agenda and stay on track - Send an agenda to the people who will be attending the meeting. Have the meeting participants add to the agenda PRIOR to the meeting. Print a time limit agreed upon beforehand by the group for each topic. Make a note next to each topic the name of the person who is responsible to speak on each topic. Appoint a time-keeper who reminds the group frequently how much time is left for the discussion of each particular item.
2. Keep the group focused - The person running the meeting should be prepared; otherwise, the effectiveness of the meeting diminishes. Keep focused on the agenda. Before the meeting think of the best way to accomplish the goals of the agenda.
3. Rotate the person leading the meetings - Experiment with who will run the meetings. Rotate among all members or just a few. Draw from a hat or try a rotation schedule to pick the next person. If you rotate roles at your meetings, be sure to make introductions at the beginning of every meeting clearly stating your job for that meeting.
4. Keep notes of the meeting - Appoint a note taker to keep an accurate record of what happened at each meeting. Bold action items at the end of the notes clearly state what is to be accomplished, and who is responsible.
5. Who is watching for snipers? -The person leading the meeting elicits participation from others as well as protects members from personal attack. The speaker needs to watch for facial expressions and lighten up the meeting when things get "heated".
6. The meeting members also have a role - The group has a responsibility to listen to the person speaking. They should not be rude and carry on conversations while others are talking. Whispering has no place in a meeting. It is equally important to speak up if you have something to say.
7. Make a date - If you have action items that come up during the meeting, be sure you assign completion dates and who is responsible for completing the task and reporting back.
8. Assign the process - How will each topic be discussed - brainstorm, go around to each person, or by presentation.
9. Send out notes - Summarize the meeting and make a date by when the notes are due to all that attended the meeting.
10. Close the meeting on a positive note - Make a formal ending to the meeting by reading a poem, a group stretch, sing a song, or sample a new kind of food.
Remember, meetings of any kind should not be a chore but a welcomed opportunity for an open discussion and productive group communication. Well planned, organized and positive meetings will always encourage membership growth.
Diane Lesher, President of Equisure, Inc. 2007