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Effective Meetings

Individuals want the time spent in a meeting to be worthwhile, that something was accomplished, or that they learned something new. Here are some tips to make your meetings more effective and valuable.

Planning for Chapter Meetings
  • Meetings are easier to remember if they are scheduled regularly, same day, time and place, if possible.
  • Define the purpose and goals of the meeting. Is the meeting an educational event for members or is it a planning meeting for a future project?
  • Develop an agenda with the faculty advisor and student officers. Some agenda items may include:
      I. Call to Order
      II. Approval of Agenda
      III. Correction and Approval of Minutes from previous meeting
      IV Announcements
      V. Treasurer's Report
      VI. Committee Reports
      VII. Unfinished Business
      VIII. New Business
      IX. Special Issues
      X. Adjournment
  • Inform and prepare members before the meeting by sending or posting the agenda and any background materials that need to be reviewed.
  • Choose a location suitable for your chapter's size. Small rooms with too many people get stuffy and create tension. A larger room is more comfortable and encourages individual expression.
During the Meeting
  • Greet members as they enter the room and make them feel welcomed.
  • Begin the meeting on time whether everyone is there or not.
  • Welcome and introduce the faculty representative, any guests and speakers.
  • Stick with the agenda; try not to let people drift off onto other subject or tangents.
  • Encourage group discussion to get all points of view and ideas. You will have better quality decisions as well as highly motivated members.
  • Encourage feedback. Ideas, activities and commitment to the organization improve when members see their impact on the decision making process. Asking open ended questions to the group helps gain input.
  • Keep minutes of the meeting for future reference in case a question or problem arises.
  • Chapter leaders must be a role model by listening, showing interest, appreciation and confidence in members.
  • Make the meeting FUN!! Give prizes, provide refreshments after the meeting or do a group activity following the meeting.
  • Set or verify the date, time and place for the next meeting.
After the Meeting
  • Write and distribute minutes within 3 or 4 days. Quick action reinforces importance of meetings and refreshes members' memory of the meeting events.
  • Discuss any problems during the meeting with other officers; come up with improvements for future meetings.
  • Follow-up on delegation decisions with other officers and members. See that they understand and carry-out their responsibilities.
  • Conduct a periodic evaluation of the meeting. Note any areas that can be analyzed and improved for more productive meetings. Get an example meeting evaluation checklist.
Meeting Evaluation Checklist

The meeting was well planned.
  1. Members were notified in advance.
  2. There was a pre-arranged agenda.
  3. Officers and committees were ready to report.
  4. The meeting room was pre-arranged.
The meeting was well organized.
  1. The meeting started on time.
  2. The faculty representative, guests and speakers were introduced and welcomed.
  3. Agendas were available for all members.
  4. The purposes and goals for the meeting were made clear.
  5. There was a transition from the last meeting.
  6. One topic was discussed at a time.
  7. Discussion was relevant.
  8. The chairperson summarized the main points of the discussion.
  9. The meeting moved along at a workable pace.
  10. Committee assignments were complete and clear.
  11. Plans for the next meeting were announced.
  12. All that was planned for the meeting was covered.
There was good meeting participation.
  1. Members participated in the discussion.
  2. The chairperson made good use of questions.
  3. The pros and cons of all issues were considered.
  4. Members gave suggestions to committees.
  5. Responsibilities were evenly distributed.
  6. Members participated in planning the agenda for the next meeting.
The meeting was of value to the members and chapter.
  1. Progress was made toward goals.
  2. Something was learned.
The meeting atmosphere was comfortable and inviting.
  1. Attendance was good.
  2. Everyone present was on time.
  3. Members had an opportunity to meet each other.
  4. There was a social function before or after the meeting.
  5. There was some humor during the meeting.
  6. Members and officers helped one another when needed.
  7. There was an atmosphere of free expression.
  8. Everyone had a good time and enjoyed themselves.

Running Effective Meetings, Student Activities and Leadership Office, University of Michigan

Effective Meetings, Student Organizations and Leadership Development Office, University of Oklahoma at Omaha