Meetings are necessary to achieve consensus – especially in associations. We’ve all been in those meetings that were a complete waste of time. Make sure meetings you run are not a waste of time but are productive and help your organization work toward achieving its mission.
To do so, we have identified seven keys to running successful, productive meetings:
- Have an agenda for every meeting
- Every meeting should have an agenda that identifies all the items to be covered during the meeting. The agenda should clearly state the purpose of the meeting and the expected outcomes for the meeting and should be distributed enough in advance of the meeting for participants to review and give thought to the items being addressed. The purpose and expected outcomes should also be restated by the leader at the beginning of the meeting.
- If you need volunteers for activities, get them lined up before the meeting – never ask for volunteers during a meeting
- So many times it happens, an item is discussed and after it’s decided upon, we seek a volunteer to “lead it”. You know in advance the items being addressed and discussed so line up your volunteers before the meeting. This will help assure you get interested, passionate people leading your activities.
- Make sure all planned actions during the meeting are related to strategic goals of the organization
- If it’s not helping to achieve your mission, you shouldn’t be doing it.
- The meeting leader (President, Committee Chair, etc.) should be a facilitator, not a dictator
- This is very important and is often a difference between for profit corporate leaders and successful association leaders. Remember all members are equal. It’s the job of the meeting leader to facilitate the discussion – make sure all points of view are given an opportunity to be discussed and debated.
- Achieve consensus
- Before any votes are taken, make sure all participants understand what they’re voting on and give ample time for discussion.
- Do not allow people to filibuster or to repeat positions already articulated by others.
- See our blog on achieving consensus for more information.
- Make sure all decisions are clearly articulated at the end of the meeting
- In order to assure the expected actions occur between meetings, it’s important the decisions are clearly articulated. If assignments are created, be sure due dates are also assigned.
- Be sure accurate minutes are taken during the meeting and distributed promptly following the meeting including any assignments and due dates
- Minutes are the historical record of your meetings and decisions. Be sure you have accurate minutes for all your meetings. Additionally, between meetings, follow up with people who have assignments to be sure they’re on track
If you follow these seven simple steps your meetings will be efficient and will lead to successes for your association. Happy Meeting!