A focus on three components: preparation, the agenda, the meeting
I. Preparation: a sample of what should happen before most meetings.
- Reserve the room
- Send out the agenda to remind participants of the meeting and what is planned
- Identify who will take notes, lead the meeting, provide reports or activities, etc.
- Contact everyone who needs to be there
- Get supplies
- Make sure your visual aids work
- Make sure the room is set up
- Make sure the room is accessible
- Have name tags if people do not know each other
- Have healthy snacks or drinks ready
- Have the minutes or notes of the previous meeting run off and extra copies of the agenda
- Make sure the agenda can be completed in the allotted time – are you realistic about the amount of work and the meeting length?
- Only hold meetings that are necessary
- Make copies
II. Agenda – a group’s road map from the beginning to the end, with all the steps in between for reaching the outcomes the group wants.
Information that needs to be on an agenda –
- must: what (the group), when, where, who and how, why
- optional, but really nice: purpose (why), who will do each item, who the leader, recorder
Look at any agenda to determine if you can answer these eight questions.
- What group is sponsoring the meeting?
- When is it taking place?
- Where will the people meet?
- How long will it last?
- Who is leading the meeting?
- What work is being done?
- How is it being done (what is being asked to be done)?
- Who is recording the decisions – or who is the secretary?
- What is the purpose of the meeting?
III. The meeting: when meetings are fair, open and honest, the potential for constructive discussion and achieving desired outcomes increases. Here is a list of things that should happen during each and every meeting
- Start on time
- Provide an overview of what will be done
- Introduce members and guests
- Keep focused on agenda items, keep a list of new items for the next meeting as needed
- Follow the time commitments for each agenda item
- Make sure that decisions are recorded
- Honor the ground rules
- Identify when the next meeting is happening
- Identify agenda items for the next meeting
- End on time
IV. After the meeting
- The recorder or secretary compiles the meeting minutes or notes
- Leftover agenda items are transferred to the next agenda
- Distribute meeting notes
- People who volunteered to do various tasks do them
Jane E Haskell, UMaine Cooperative Extension