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Make or Break Meeting Moments

Posted By Kate-Madonna Hindes, Monday, May 4, 2015

I met with Ewald Consulting Account Executive Monte Abeler to discuss his experience meeting with boards and committees for a variety of associations. He told me that he had recently had a great meeting and everyone walked out feeling energized and ready to take action. I wondered, why don’t more meetings end this way? We talked briefly and came up with a few make-or-break features of meetings we’ve both attended, including:


1.       Never meet without an agenda. It seems simplistic, but meetings without an agenda are a rudderless boat headed for rocks or drifting aimlessly along. Set an agenda that consists only of items that require a decision or input resulting in action. If you are invited to a meeting that lacks an agenda, politely insist on having one or be prepared to drift.


2.       As a participant in a meeting, ask the “dumb questions.” If a bold recommendation is made, ask about the underlying assumptions. For example, if a membership committee member suggests the goal of growing membership by 10%, ask why. Is there value in growing the number of members or is the committee trying to get off easy by using the total number of members as a proxy indicator of overall value the association offers through membership?


3.       Make sure participants are positioned to succeed in the meeting. Provide materials that require review well in advance of the meeting with explicit instruction that such materials should be fully digested prior to the meeting. Have a plan for preparing the meeting facilities as well as who will facilitate discussion, track time on each discussion item, and take/distribute minutes. Having the logistics of a meeting  set beforehand ensures that the meeting itself can get underway on time and the focus of everyone’s valuable time can be the topics of discussion.


4.       Start and end on time. In today’s busy environment where all meeting participants have multiple commitments, the best way to be respectful of everyone’s time is to ensure a prompt beginning and conclusion to your meeting. This will ensure future participation is dependable and prompt.


In addition to these quick tips, Kathie Pugaczewski describes in 20 Ways to Enhance Your Meeting Experiences how to make use of your association’s website before, during, and after a meeting to increase the value of the meeting itself and to perpetuate the ideas and outcomes from the meeting into the activities that follow it. Take a look and provide us with your feedback. 



This post was written by Paul Hanscom, Vice President of Marketing at Ewald Consulting. Contact Paul at: paulh@ewald.com. 

Tags:  association management 

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