Avoiding Meeting Misery: 3 Musts for Efficient Meetings

image of group meeting dreaming of efficient meetingsEfficient meetings require more planning than simply emailing the attendees an invite.

Whether it’s the association board, staff, or members, use the following tips to plan association meetings that meet objectives, produce results, and leave participants with a sense of accomplishment.

  1. Define the objective: Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish. Are you:
      • Looking for a decision?
      • Generating ideas?
      • Receiving status reports?
      • Communicating something?
      • Making plans?
      • Do you even really need to have the meeting?

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  1. Have an agenda: That bears repeating. Have an agenda. Send it out before the meeting so people can be prepared, have input, and give feedback (who knows, maybe you’ll find out a scheduled discussion isn’t needed because that project is already completed). Include a schedule and a timeline on topics – and stick to it! A typical agenda includes:
      • Date, time, and location
      • Who will attend
      • Topic(s) that will be addressed and the intended outcome
      • The order of topics
      • Who will lead the discussion on topics
      • Time allotted for each topic – make it realistic
      • Participants’ roles in the meeting (so they can prepare)

Arrange for someone to take detailed notes during the meeting – that way, you can focus on keeping the meeting on track. Encourage them to keep a summary of discussion points being made, action steps, and decisions.

  1. Who to include: Don’t waste people’s time – it’s too valuable. Participants should either be decision-makers or essential to the process. Not sure if someone should be included? Ask if they would like to attend or would prefer to receive the minutes later.

This is Part 1 of a 3-part series on efficient meeting planning and execution. Check back soon for the next installment about efficient meetings!

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