A Successful Meeting
For a meeting to be successful, there is some planning that needs to occur before the meeting. This process can be time consuming, but this SOUL Quote will try to make your job easier. Included are questions to ponder before the meeting, what to include in the agenda, types of meetings and a few quick ideas to keep your meetings lively!
Questions to Ponder
Before your meeting begins, take a moment to consider the following questions:
- What is the purpose of the meeting? What are the outcomes of the meeting?
- What type of meeting should we hold based on the purpose?
- Who will be in attendance at this meeting?
- Where is the most ideal location for the meeting?
- What is the most appropriate date and time to hold the meeting?
- What will be covered at the meeting to achieve the purpose/outcomes of the meeting?
- Who will be responsible for:
- Reserving the meeting space
- Setting up/tearing down the room
- Inviting members (and special guests)
- Creating the agenda
- Leading the meeting
- Running any activities
- Introducing guests
What is in the Agenda?
When developing an agenda for the meeting, it is important to keep in mind the following key ideas:
- At the top of the agenda, list the date, time and location of the meeting for record-keeping purposes.
- Call to Order: Include a welcome by the president at the beginning of the meeting so that all members know that the meeting is starting. Sometimes starting off with an energizer will allow members to greet one another or to learn something new about each other.
- Roll Call: Ask the secretary to take attendance. If you'd like, this can be done in a fun or exciting way if the meeting is more of a casual type.
- Approval of Minutes: The secretary should disperse copies of the minutes from the previous meeting. Additions and deletions should be made and then the minutes should be approved by the general members.
- Treasurer's Report: The treasurer will report on the balance in the organization's account and any upcoming revenues and/or expenses.
- Old Business: Committee chairs report on previously announced information and discussion occurs as needed.
- New Business: Committee chairs can report on new ideas or projects that they are working on. This is a great time to ask questions of clarification to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Announcements: This is a time that all members can make announcements about campus or community events.
- Adjournment: The president will adjourn the meeting. Usually it is helpful to have the next meeting's date, time and location printed on the agenda so members can easily remember.
- Upcoming Events: Some organizations might choose to add a small calendar on their agenda if there are a lot of upcoming dates to remember. Having it down on paper will help remind the members of the organization.
The agenda can be as brief or as detailed as the person creating it prefers. Its main purpose is to keep everyone on track throughout the entire meeting. It is usually helpful to leave room for members to take notes on the agenda or brainstorm throughout the meeting. Some organization leaders also choose to include pictures, quotes, clip art, etc. to the agenda to spruce it up!
Types of Meetings and Their Purpose
- Informational: disseminate important information
- Action/Discussion: committee meetings
- Forum: open dialogue between the group and guests
- Standing: a regularly occurring meeting
- Presentation/seminar: meeting where a single topic is presented
Keeping Things Lively
It might not be a tradition, but think about ways to keep your meetings moving and engaging. Here are a few ideas:
Whip around question
Ask members of the group to answer a question during roll call instead of saying "here" or "present." Questions can include:
- What is your favorite vacation spot?
- What is your favorite restaurant?
- What are your plans for break?
- What is your dream job?
Would you rather question
Pose a "would you rather..." question to the group and determine each member's stance on the topic. Sample questions can be found at www.wouldyourather.com.
Beach ball toss
Purchase a beach ball at the dollar store and write random questions all over it in permanent marker. At the meeting, have group members stand in a circle and toss the beach ball. When someone catches it, they must answer the question that their right thumb has landed on.
Standing meeting only
Remove all the chairs from the room and have everyone stand during the meeting. This will make the meeting move faster, but you might want to choose a short meeting to test the waters on this idea!
Check out other activities in the SOUL Icebreaker Manual.
Ten Commandments for Conducting a Meeting
- Thou shalt not meet if the matter can be resolved by other means.
- Thou shalt make the purpose known to those thou summoned.
- Thou shalt summon only those whose presence is needful.
- Thou shalt start at the time announced.
- Thou shalt not run beyond.
- Thou shalt not wander to other topics.
- Thou shalt prepare thy thoughts that the minutes not be wasted.
- Thou shalt not schedule in haste for the day in brief.
- Thou shalt combine into one which need not be separated.
- Thou shalt fear not to cancel if the need disappears.