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 information will 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 type of meeting should we hold?
  • 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?
  • 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?
A typical formal agenda includes the following items. Feel free to use some, or all, and add your own.

  • 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. 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 way if the meeting is casual.
  • Approval of Minutes: The secretary should disperse or read aloud copies of the minutes from the previous meeting. Additions and deletions should be made and then 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.
  • New Business: Committee chairs can report on new ideas or projects that they are working on.
  • 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. (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!

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.

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!

A Few extra tips

  • Make it clear to everyone why the meeting is happening.
  • Only invite people who need to be at the session. A bored person can distract others and cause disruptions.
  • Start and end on time. End early if possible. This respects everyone's time.
  • Stay on topic and help others do the same.

from www.leadersinstitute.com/resource/meetingtips.html