It’s not easy to lead a meeting and successfully encourage participation and different points of view. Establishing an agenda that includes standard financial and other reports made at each meeting is the first step to a well-run meeting. RENOSI suggests that you use basic parliamentary procedures (see RENOSI’s ParliPro Basics for Conducting a Meeting ) but steer clear of trying to enforce Roberts Rules of Order. The few people who understand Robert’s Rules may use the complicated procedures to control a meeting rather than encourage participation by all. Leading effective meetings takes practice and strategies. Here are a few tips for you:
Prepare a detailed agenda in advance
- Think about how much time each agenda item may require, realistically (it’s better to end early than go late).
- Give each agenda item a specific amount of time.
- Place topics that may require more discussion at the beginning of the agenda.
- Use action verbs on each agenda item (i.e., decide, share, review, select, discuss, finish, adjust, etc.) to ensure a clear outcome.
- Know your outcomes.
Start on time / end on time
- Schedule time to socialize 15 minutes before meeting begins.
- Set a timer or stopwatch to go off at the time the meeting is to begin as a signal for all to be quiet.
- Designate a timekeeper to watch the clock during the meeting and give feedback to meeting participants to let them know when time for discussion on an agenda item is almost up to keep the meeting on track.
Stay on topic
- Have meeting Chair (i.e., President) stop the “runaway” discussion and return to the agenda item being discussed.
- Create a “Parking Lot” on a piece of paper where important issues not related to current discussion can be listed to be discussed at a later date.
- Use the “Parking Lot” when creating the next month’s agenda.