Thursday, November 02, 2006

WLA 2006: Running an Effective Meeting

Thursday, 2-3:15pm

This was a presentation by Kathy Pletcher, Association Provost for Information Services at UW-Green Bay.

Effective meetings have:
  • A good chairperson
  • The right people involved -- people with technical knowledge, with ideas, willing to do the work
  • A clear purpose or charge --
Effective meetings require:
  • Good planning
  • Good leadership
  • Appropriate follow-up
Planning the meeting (this is where you want to put a lot of effort):
  1. What is the purpose of the meeting?
  2. Which format will be most effective?
  3. What needs to be accomplished?
  4. Who should be there and why?
1. What is the purpose?
  • Inform
  • Gather information
  • Generate ideas
  • Enhance communication
  • Enhance teamwork
  • Improve morale
  • Solve a problem
  • Make a decision
  • Persuade
2. Which format?:
  • In person -- opportunity to draw out introverted attendees; you can read body language
  • Telephone, teleconference -- requires more work; the agenda has to be highly structured because you don't have visual cues from attendees; you have to call on people
  • Two-way video
  • Computer conferences
3. What needs to get done?
  • Set reasonable goals -- make a list
  • Determine time needed to achieve goals -- give a start and end time
  • Structure the agenda
    - action, discussion, information items
    - prioritize -- first things first
    - relevancy check
    - is the meeting necessary?
4. Who should be there and why?
  • Who are the stakeholders and why?
  • Who has pertinent information?
  • Who will be affected by the outcome?
  • Who might contribute good thinking?
  • Who might help move things along?
  • Who should be inside the tent? People who regularly oppose a topic on the agenda.
  • Only bring people there who need to be there; don't waste the time of others.
  • Keep in mind the size of the group. Groups larger than 15 can be hard to manage. Consider structuring subgroups or subcommittees.
Scheduling the meeting:
  • Select a time that will achieve the highest attendance by key players.
  • Select a place that will be accessible and conducive to good discussion.
"Calling" the meeting:
  • Memo or email message that includes
    - purpose of the meeting
    - date, time & location
    - who will be there
    - let people know the preparation required
  • Meeting agenda
    - date, start time, end time, location
    - action/discussion/information items
  • Documents pertinent to meeting
  • Maps, parking info if needed
Just prior to a meeting:
  • Review the agenda
  • Gather your thoughts
  • Gather hand-outs
  • Be there ahead of attendees
  • Check out the meeting room
  • Greet people
Running the meeting:
  • Begin on time
  • Appoint a recorder
  • Stick to the agenda
  • Foster discussion
  • Use rules like parliamentary procedures -- consider appointing a parlimentarian
  • Stay on course
  • Summarize & show progress
  • Draw conclusions
  • Assign tasks
  • Set deadlines
Parliamentary basics:
  1. Only one subject may claim the attention of the assembly at one time.
  2. Each proposition presented is entitled to full and free debate.
  3. Every member has rights equal to every other member.
  4. The will of the majority must be carried out and the rights of the minority must be preserved.
  5. The personality and desires of each member should be merged into the larger unit of organization.
  • Allow enough discussion before a motion is made.
  • A motion is made in order for the group to take action.
  • A motion needs a second in order to be considered by the group.
  • Discussion/debate must be germane to the motion.
  • Presiding officer takes the vote by voice, show of hands or balloting
  • The chair should remain neutral during the discussion, and will serve as the tie-breaker
Before you adjourn:
  • Do a meeting wrap-up and summarize what we accomplished during the meeting
  • Review assignments and deadlines
  • Schedule the next meeting
  • Thank participants
Post-meeting follow-up:
  • Send out minutes or a summary
  • List the tasks that need to be followed up; check on progress of assignments
  • Carry out decisions, tasks, etc.
  • Report back on progress

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