Most chairpersons either pre-distribute, or at least have available at their meeting, an agenda for meeting participants to review and follow. Unfortunately, however, many chairpersons either do not fully understand how agendas can be used effectively, or simply create "boilerplate- type" agendas, listing items extremely broadly. Further compounding this situation, many chairs do not strictly follow their agendas, making their agenda even less significant.
A well formulated agenda can accomplish a lot towards assuring a #meaningful, and #hopefully, successful meeting. The agenda should always be distributed far enough in advance, so that participants have the opportunity to review it, and formulate their ideas. Meeting chairs should avoid having committee reports simply read at meetings, by having these written reports distributed along with the agenda, and giving attendees the opportunity to read, review, and formulate questions regarding this report. Part of the agenda should therefore permit an opportunity to question the heads of committees regarding any item that might require clarification. These reports should then be included in the minutes of the meeting.
The individual overseeing a meeting should create an effective agenda, and then stick to it. Opportunities for other topics to be discussed should be allowed for, but should be after the agenda items, during the New Business part of the proceedings. Leaders must stay "on track," and be vigilant to not permit others to digress off topic. One of the most important reasons that Parliamentary Procedure should be used and understood is to assure that meetings run efficiently and effectively. Effective procedures permits orderly discussions, and when meetings are conducted in a procedurally orderly manner, invariably, they are more effective.
Meeting participants should also leave a meeting feeling the meeting accomplished its purpose. How often have you attended a meeting where you left feeling your time was wasted, etc? Using these techniques also assures that anyone who wishes to, has an opportunity to speak and voice his opinion. How often have you left a meeting bothered by the fact that an individual or two dominated the #conversation?
No meeting can be considered effective unless agenda items are fully discussed, and an action plan, or to-do list was created. Everyone should know who is responsible for what, what the expectations are, what the costs (if any) are, and the timeline. How often have you attended an organization's meetings, and felt like the same discussion occurred every time?
It is essential that the agenda, the reports and the minutes of the meeting are preserved and maintained for a prolonged period of time, and that they be referred to in the future. When a proposal is made, and approved, there must be a follow up, and an awareness of what will happen next.
The only way that organizations can assure that their meetings are meaningful is to emphasize leadership training, to assure it leaders understand the necessities of leadership. Without that emphasis, even the most well-intentioned #organization and/ or leader, diminishes its chances for optimum success and accomplishments.
Posted by Richard Brody at 9:44