Key Points to Remember About Meetings
- Have your agenda prepared before the meeting. Send it out to anyone that should attend so they can come prepared. Use it as an outreach tool to hook new people in around specific topics.
- Have a regular meeting cycle people can depend on, i.e. “general meetings once a month” or Crime Committee meetings once every two weeks. If you have created a regular cycle, you must stick to it! Once you have created expectations, follow through!
- Have a definite starting and ending time written into your agenda and stick to it! The shorter the better. Meetings should rarely last more than 1 to 1½ hours for general meetings. Committee meetings may go longer; depending on how much work needs to be done.
- A meeting place should have enough room for those attending to sit comfortably and should not be too hot or too cold. Meeting should be held in a place considered safe and neutral, not any one group’s turf. Meeting places can often be found for free through local churches, union halls, lodges, community centers, senior centers, schools, neighborhood storefronts, banks (yes they have rooms), community gardens (when it’s warm out) and local agencies. People won’t come if the meeting is too far away, so keep close to your block, in your building lobby or in a centrally located place.
- Don’t hold a meeting for a meeting’s sake. If there are no decisions that the group has to make or no real reason to call everyone together, your newsletter can convey the information. Send information out instead of wasting people’s time. But don’t cancel too many meetings in a row – people need to come together to feel a sense of unity.
- Have a sign-in sheet so you can update your membership list. It’s important to keep track of who comes to meetings and who doesn’t for planning outreach. If someone is missing a lot of meetings, you should find out why and follow-up. Be sure to include address and phone number on the sign-in sheet.
- Allow for social time before and/or after your meetings. This gives people a chance to informally share information and ideas and relate to each other as neighbors. Serve refreshments (coffee, cake, soda) if you can. Try getting donations from local businesses or asking members to take turns bringing snacks.
- Be clear about your purpose for having the meeting in the first place. Have a clear sense before of what you want to see the meeting accomplish. Meetings without clear goals are dull and confusing and can turn members off. Be realistic and try not to overload your Agenda. Prioritize your issues, it may have to wait for the next meeting or a special meeting may need to be called.