Running an Effective Meeting - Revitalize Your RSO Series

Effective Meetings
Effective Meetings

Having effective meetings is critical for an engaged membership. The following tips will help you have effecting meetings that engage your members.

Meeting preparation is critical. Use the following checklist to ensure your meeting is streamlined and effective.
*Define the purpose of the meeting. If you can’t find a purpose, don’t meet.
*Select a meeting structure to conduct the meeting (parliamentary procedure,informal, etc.).
*State objectives and expectations.
*Plan for the environment of the meeting and consider the unexpected.
*Develop an agenda and share before the meeting if possible. Agendas should include purpose, topics, lead persons, and time estimates.

Sample agenda:
• Call to order
• Correction and approval of the last meeting’s minutes
• Announcements
• Committee reports
• Unfinished business
• New business
• Special issues
• Adjournment

*Choose an appropriate meeting time. Set a specific time limit and stick to it. Try to keep meetings to under one hour.
*Publicize meeting location and time; if possible hold meetings at the same time and place.

Now that you are prepared, here are several steps to make the meeting run smoothly.

*Greet members as they arrive and make them feel welcome.
*Start the meeting on time, and stick to a time limit if possible.
*Follow the agenda.
*Encourage discussion and feedback. Members need to see their input is important. If the meeting will not involve any member interaction or discussion, you might consider substituting a memorandum or newsletter in place of a meeting. If members don’t have the opportunity to get involved at meetings, they will probably get bored.
*Keep the conversation on a topic toward an eventual decision.
*Keep minutes of the meeting and share them after the meeting.
*The leader or facilitator should be a role model by listening and showing interest, seeing other people's perspective, accepting differences, being flexible and enriching growth.
*Set a date, time and place for the next meeting.

Effective meetings don't end when the meeting does.
Make sure the following tasks occur after the meeting.
*Write up and distribute minutes within two or three days. Quick action reinforces the importance of the meeting. Minutes remind members about points of discussion, tasks to be performed,and decisions to be made.
*Discuss problems that occurred during the meeting with other officers and members. Evaluate the meeting by open discussion, written evaluation, or round robin and discuss ways that improvements can be made.
*Follow-up on delegated tasks. See to it that members understand and carry out their responsibilities.
*Put unfinished business on the agenda for the next meeting.
*Most importantly, give recognition and appreciation to members for excellent and timely progress!

For more information on organization and personal development skills in the Revitalize Your RSO series, stop by or call UNL Student Involvement, 200 Nebraska Union, 472-2454; or 300 Nebraska East Union, 472-1780.