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Conducting Effective Meetings for Student Organizations

illustration of people at a meeting tableDo you dread attending meetings because they are dull, unproductive, disorganized or too long?  Meetings can be unfocused, boring and are sometimes called unnecessarily.  This does not mean meetings are inherently valueless, but indicate they are often poorly planned.  A meeting is not an end in itself, but a vehicle to help you reach a goal.  Meetings help a group determine courses of action.  If the facilitator starts with a careful plan and finishes with a thorough follow-up, the meeting will run smoothly. 

The following are some tips to help you make your meetings successful, productive and fun:

Purpose of Meeting

Meeting Preparation

Before you call a meeting, you must ask yourself whether you have to call it at all.  Sometimes a group-wide e-mail or a few simple conversations can accomplish the same thing more easily.  If you decide you need to have a meeting, then you must plan carefully.  This is your most important step as a meeting leader.

During the Meeting

Attitude

Atmosphere

Agenda

Accomplishments

Adjourn

After the Meeting

Checklist to Use When Planning Meetings

BEFORE THE MEETING

__ Reserve meeting room
__ Arrange room to accommodate group
__ Prepare and send out a meeting agenda
__ Contact committee members and advisor for reports
__ Prepare handouts/print copies of agendas and previous minutes
__ Prepare necessary visual aids
__ Reserve audio/visual equipment
__ Pick up snacks (if desired)
__ Invite guests/Confirm attendance
__ Confirm Advisor attendance

AT THE MEETING

__ Greet all members by name
__ Sign-in Sheet
__ Start the meeting on time
__ Introduce guests/new members
__ Conduct meeting
__ Stick to the agenda
__ Who will greet latecomers?
__ Keep order
__ Hand out materials
__ Announce time/place of next meeting
__ Other announcements
__ Track assignments

WHEN YOU ARE THE ATTENDEE AT A MEETING

__ Confirm location and time the day before the meeting
__ Review the agenda and prepare any questions or concerns
__ Be on time and prepared
__ Stay focused on the discussion

IF YOU HAVE A SPEAKER

__ Be sure to give the speaker directions and parking information
__ Select a well qualified speaker
__ Brief speaker ahead of time as to the audience, subject, time limit
__ Speaker should provide a biographical outline ahead of time for their introduction

AFTER THE MEETING

__ Clean up
__ Collect unused material
__ Return equipment
__ Follow up on committee assignments.