Plan an Effective Meeting!

A significant aspect of each Veterans Connection group includes meetings. Whether that be a monthly, committee, or planning meeting, there are key areas in which to consider while in your planning process. Implementing some or all of these suggestions can assist your group in reducing last minute stress centered around meetings, make meetings run more smoothly for leaders and members, and give new visitors a great first impression of your group.

Send Out Meeting Reminders

Life is busy with jobs, family, volunteer work, etc. and a member’s schedule can quickly become booked with other activities. By sending out a meeting reminder two days before your meeting, you can ensure members are reminded and they are more likely to attend.

Have an Agenda

Planning begins with having a structured agenda. To plan an effective meeting, you should first decide what will be discussed. What is the objective of the meeting? What are you hoping to accomplish? As you will be developing a meeting agenda ahead of time, it is a good idea to then distribute it to attendees via email or mail depending on the individual’s preference. Indicate the start time and a short list of topics to be addressed. Your agenda does not need to include overly detailed topics; a simple overview will assist in keeping your meeting on track and ensuring each topic is discussed. Also be sure to indicate any individuals by name who will be responsible for reporting on a specific area.

Referring back to our first topic of sending out meeting reminders, it is extremely important to include the date, time, and location of your next meeting. This way members can get it in their calendar immediately.

Start on Time

Starting on time is extremely important. It can be frustrating for members and leaders who show up on time, but are unable to begin promptly as people are trickling in late. This action often causes a long term affect. As your meetings progress in the year, more and more people will assume you will not begin on time because of this lateness and they in turn will come late. This can be solved by taking charge of your meeting. Have the leader begin the meeting on time even if you are waiting on an individual. In starting promptly at the scheduled start time, stragglers will quickly get the message that they are arriving late and that they should arrive on time for the next meeting.

Keep on Topic

The most important thing a leader can do is keep to the agenda. In veering off to other topics for long periods of time, it can be difficult to get back on track and time can be wasted unnecessarily. If your group only has a select length of time to meet, be sure to get to your planned topics since those were the areas you identified as the most significant in your planning process.

If a subject should come up that needs to be discussed, make a note to add that topic to your next meeting agenda or come back to at at the end if it is a timely matter.

Send out a Meeting Summary

Within a week after your group meeting, send out a brief summary of what was discussed. Groups will often have an appointed secretary that will take notes during the meeting and distribute minutes after. It’s a good idea to follow up with an email and these minutes to all those in attendance, those who were unable to attend, and anyone else who may need to be informed.

In these minutes, be sure to also include any decisions made and the individual assigned to complete them. For example, if John volunteered to look into a fundraising opportunity before the next meeting, he will 1. be reminded of this as the minutes are distributed and 2. ensure the remainder of the group is also on the same page.

Woodward, Melanie. “Here Is a Step-By-Step How-To Plan to Set up Effective Meetings.” The Balance Small Business, The Balance Small Business, 21 Jan. 2019, https://www.thebalancesmb.com/simple-steps-for-planning-meetings-4105855.

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