American Independent Business Alliance

Steps to Making Your Meetings an “Oh, Yes” Experience

Steps to Making Your Meetings an “Oh, Yes” Experience

We’re often asked for key elements of building a successful local business coalition. The questioner typically seeks a masterful campaign theme, event idea, or policy initiative that attracts media attention and supporters. While those are all great aspirations, the truth is less exciting. Powerful organizations build from the soil of effective fundamentals like good budgeting, record-keeping and even effective meetings.

Productive meetings are based in sound planning and discipline that builds a culture of success, teamwork and a feeling of forward movement.


Prepare and Share in Advance an Agenda to Clearly Identify What Will Be Accomplished

What do people need to read, learn or consider to come prepared? Draft and share the agenda as a Google Doc or your preferred cloud-based platform* and embed links to any useful reference material, conference call link, budget, etc. identify who is responsible for leading discussion on any item, what will be decided and any tasks that need to be taken on.

Assigning different people to lead on individual agenda items helps keep the meeting engaging and incentivizes people to be better prepared. Here’s a sample agenda based on AMIBA’s own template.


Have a Regular Note-taker and Back-up

Recording conversations, assignments and decisions accurately is a vital function, and for board meetings, a legal requirement.


The Facilitator Is Key

Training in facilitation is a valuable experience worth investing in for board members. Your facilitator should be:

  • organized, prepared and punctual
  • able to distinguish between her/his role as moderator and participant and not use moderating power to steer group to a preferred outcome
    comfortable in halting diversions, rambling, dominance and other actions that threaten a productive meeting
  • able to clearly summarize decisions and assignments. Drawing out participation from less vocal people also is a vital skill.


Respect

Create the clear expectation that meetings start and stop on time. Allowing meetings to be delayed for stragglers punishes those who respect colleagues’ time.


Right-size It

We see too many groups convene meetings of their entire board and discuss matters that don’t interest many people. Use narrowly-focused work groups to do most work and reserve the full board’s attention for necessary input or decision-making.


Choose the Right Venue

Choose a venue that allows participants to hear and focus. Outdoors meeting often inspire creativity when conditions permit.


Silence the Phones and Close Personal Email

‘Nuf said.


Don’t Allow Meeting Time to be Used for Explaining Things that Could Be Shared via Email or Documents

If items need to be read or viewed prior to the meeting, make that clear in the agenda and don’t take meeting time enabling a person who fails to do so unless it’s unavoidable.


Review

Repeat decisions and commitments before concluding. Each participant should have at least one “to-do” before you meet next to promote engagement and the feeling of shared workload.


Conclude (on time!) with a piece of good news or possibility

Send meeting notes as soon after the meeting as possible, while the discussion is fresh in people’s memories and they can add or clarify if needed. Adding notes to the existing meeting agenda document simplifies things. Make sure decided actions are clear.

Meetings are rarely the right forum to share information — that should be done pre-meeting by email, forums, etc. Use your meetings for discussion not conducive to email and to make decisions. Meetings should occur only when necessary. So while it may make sense to schedule a bi-monthly meeting, look for occasions to cancel them, or substitute a social gathering.


After the Meeting

Identify any problems that occurred to address them before the next meeting and consider any changes that would reduce absenteeism, lack of follow-through or other issues.


What to Avoid

Meetings are rarely the right forum to share information — that should be done pre-meeting by email, forums, etc. Use your meetings for discussion not conducive to email and to make decisions. Meetings should occur only when necessary. So while it may make sense to schedule a bi-monthly meeting, look for occasions to cancel them, or substitute a social gathering.

Tags: , ,

Submit a Comment

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This