Productive meetings need the following:
The following report deals with these aspects. However, it is also important to keep in mind that meetings can be fun!
Every Board member is expected to participate in Board meetings and meetings of the committees to which they have been assigned (e.g. personnel committee, finance committee).
Executive officers, in addition, must participate in Executive meetings. With all this time in meetings, it is important to ensure that the time is well spent.
A meeting can only be productive if people know why they are meeting. "Because it is the second Tuesday of the month" are not sufficient reasons to meet. As Board members, you need to consider what issues you want to address when you meet. These issues should make up the meeting's agenda. The preparation of the agenda for the Board meeting is the responsibility of the Board Chair, in consultation with the staff person. Since most Board members chair various committees of the Board, this section is appropriate for everyone.
What is an effective agenda? Many associations have agendas that are similar to this:
2. Minutes of last meeting
3. Business arising from the minutes
4. Committee reports
5. Other business
A more useful agenda, leading to a more useful meeting, might look like the following agenda below.
2. Minutes of the previous meeting
3. Business arising in the past month
i. A new lease has
been drawn up with our landlord (copy attached to agenda). Pls review
it before the meeting.
4. Committee Reports
Fund raising committee
5. Other business
This agenda lets people know why they are coming to the meeting. Further it lets them know what they need to read and what they need to think about before they arrive. Then once the meeting starts, rather than spending large amounts of time bringing everyone "up to speed" on a number of issues, staff and volunteers can summarize the issue and informed discussion can begin.
As Chair of the meeting, the Chair owes it to her fellow Board and committee members to make the best use of their time. An agenda which explains what they need to think about lets them use the best of their skills at the meeting.
There is really no mystery to being effective. These simple guidelines will help any committee or Board Chair to make sure that his/her committee/Board is as effective as it can be.
1. Be Prepared
Just as the need for committee members to prepare for meetings was described in the previous section, the Chair needs to prepare, too. When you prepare the agenda, don't put the most important item last. People will be tired and you may run out of time before the discussion ends. Think about what needs to be done and set out the agenda to facilitate that goal. If you have a few "heavy" items, put some lighter ones between them.
Also, just prior to the meeting, familiarize yourself with the agenda, particularly if you developed it well in advance of the meeting. Try to figure out what the major issues will be and make sure that there is sufficient time set aside to discuss them.
2. Facilitate, Don't Dominate
As committee or Board Chair, your role is more facilitator than commander. To get the best out of the committee, you have to make sure that everyone has a chance to speak. Your own views are less important than the combined views of your committee members. Encourage the quiet members to speak and make sure the vocal ones don't dominate the meetings.
These two simple guidelines will help your meetings flow and will help to ensure that everyone feels that they have a part to play in the association.
How many times have you come to a meeting and spent time debating what was decided at an earlier meeting? "Are you sure we decided to buy furniture from Black's? I thought we were going to get three quotes first and then decide whether we had enough money".
It is easy to avoid
repetitive debates by making sure that all motions are recorded in the
minutes. The Secretary should have a pile of the motion forms at every
meeting. Then the mover can write the motion down for the Secretary so
that it is recorded accurately.
As the motion is developed, it is important to be as specific as possible. "Moved that we get quotes on the cost of new office furniture and review these before deciding whether to purchase" is a relatively clear motion, but it leaves a number of questions.
In order to avoid more discussion at the next meeting about the number of quotes and upon specifically what office furniture is being quoted, these details should be specified either in the motion or in an appended document (ie: "The furniture to be quoted on is everything on list "A" with the exception of the community developer's desk").
Consequently, in the motion cited above, the "we" should be replaced by a person's name. If it is stated as, "Move that Rena get...", lets everyone know who is expected to do the task.
with the following chart on parliamentary procedure. The procedures
outlined can be used to facilitate meetings in that every Board or committee
member has a well-known reference point from which to proceed with respect
to discussions during a Board or committee meeting.