Over the past 10 years, I’ve comprised a list of 10 Tips that are essential for effective meetings. They have helped me ensure that my client's meetings have been extremely effective and productive. I hope you will find they will help ensure your meetings are equally effective and productive.
Perhaps, you’ve just been elected president of a home owners’ association, chairman of the board of directors or the chairman of a major committee within the company, the new executive director for an international company and everyone is looking to you for leadership and guidance. What do you do now? What is the most important thing that you, as the new leader, should concentrate on?
You know that time is of the essence. You want to put your blueprint on the organization and you know that you are expected to do this quickly and efficiently. You also know, as the leader, you are expected to be poised, impartial, sensitive, a good communicator, exercise good judgment, promote an open atmosphere…and to get others to do willingly what you want them to do. Again, how do you do this – what comes first?
After acclimating yourself to the new position, you realize—almost immediately—that meetings are absolutely essential to your success. Let me rephrase that—effective meetings are absolutely essential to your success…and you will be in meeting, after meeting, after meeting. That’s why all leaders should have some basic knowledge of parliamentary procedure. Depending upon how serious you are about taking your careers to the next level, you may consider honing your skills by investing in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th Edition (716 pages), which a very study of parliamentary procedure. If you only want a cursory or quick overview of some of the rules/procedures that you will frequently use, you may only wish to invest in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief, 11th Edition (197 pages). So how do you become proficient in running effective meetings—through training.
I’m often asked to give my course called “Running Effective Meetings.” I’ve developed a fun, two and one half-hour highly, interactive training course. Participants practice conducting effective and challenging meeting scenarios. After the training, the participants can’t wait to get back to their organizations and practice what they have learned. Learning parliamentary procedures for conducting effective meetings is essential for your success.
1. State the purpose:
a. Resolve a conflict
b. Share information
c. Gain understanding
d. Obtain reactions to a problem or situation
2. Select the participants:
b. Other officers
3. Select the location:
a. Large enough to accommodate participants and audio-visual aids
b. Comfortable and free from distractions and interruptions
c. Equipped with adequate lighting and ventilations
4. Identify and notify the participants of:
a. Meeting date, time, and place (Minimum 48 hours notification)
b. Meeting purpose and desired outcome
c. What information to bring (statistics/reports)
d. What is expected of them at the meeting
e. Special arrangements (meals, beverages, etc.)
5. Prepare Agenda (Order of Business) Minimum of 48 hours advance preparation before the meeting.
6. Prepare script for each meeting. Review the script with other invited meeting participants.
7. Ensure all reports are available and controversial issues discussed in advance of meeting.
a. Do not read copies of reports that are made available to attendees and require no action.
b. Have a plan for addressing controversial issues.
8. Set ground rules on how long debate will be for each item.
a. Limit the times to two (2) that a member may speak.
b. Have timing device available to ensure compliance.
9. Use motion forms to keep track of all actions.
a. Prepare motion form in three copies: (1) Presiding officer, (2) Secretary, and (3) Member
10. Approve the agenda and do not deviate from it!
These 10 Tips have helped me run effective meetings for years. The presiding officers that have received my training have been extremely successful—their meetings are the envy of all who observe them. Maybe these 10 Tips will help you as well.
What are your favorite meeting tips?