What is the purpose of having meetings? Is it for people to get together and have a social hour? Is it for one person to dictate what needs to happen and who’s going to do it? What do we hold meetings for? Meetings are for a group of people, a team, etc. to come together, be productive in accomplishing the tasks set-out beforehand as well as making decisions as a whole or simply getting input from more than one or two individuals. The point is, we live in a world where society practically functions off of having meetings for the sole task of getting things done and being both efficient and effective. However, having meetings may not be as simple as it sounds.
As student leaders on campus, there are times where we may feel we have no idea what to do in a meeting, let alone lead it ourselves. Well, here are a few tips to help you out in handling meetings within your organizations. Here is a set list of do’s and don’t for meetings that can help you have a more accomplished meeting:
- Don’t: It’s called the “multi-headed animal syndrome”: Don’t let it happen. In this situation what happens is basically people going off on tangents. One person starts with an issue that needs to be solved and members are talking about the issue from too many different perspectives that it is making the problem bigger than need be.
- DO: make sure your group has a single focus. As a group, not individuals, come together and agree on what you are going to discuss and how you are going to discuss it. Once it is clear on what the topic is and how it will be discussed, just stick to enforcing the subject and productivity is promised!
- Don’t: Don’t let your members not be heard. Meetings can get chaotic, heck they can even get mean! Don’t let members gang up on one another and shut others down. That creates destruction, not production.
- DO: make your members feel like they matter. An organization is nothing without it’s followers. What is the point of having a few leaders but no followers? Make sure everyone is being heard and voicing their opinion. Be the facilitator and make sure that the only type of criticism shared is constructive.
- Don’t: Don’t take it personally. Constructive criticism is said for a reason. As soon as you become defensive or personally offended by someone’s critiquing, you miss the whole point of their comment. Student organizations build leaders, and leaders learn from their mistakes.
- DO: Meetings are to be constructive and with that comes critiquing one another’s ideas as well. It’s about creativity, ideas flowing, and flexibility. What sets a good leader from a bad one, is a leader who strives to better themselves as well as knows how to take only what you need from what is said. Don’t take offense to the tone, but rather take the lesson behind what was said.
- Don’t: Don’t go over the allotted time. Reasons why this may happen are the meeting started late (don’t wait to start, you snooze you lose), order of the meeting wasn’t prioritized, or the amount of topics wasn’t feasible within the time constraints.
- DO: Set a schedule and have a person in charge of time. Always emphasize and truly live up to the saying, “to be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to never show up.” If need be, have some type of reward system for those who are early or on time. The more efficiently you use your time the more productive you are so be sure to stay on track!
- Don’t: Let people be on phones, labtops, etc. if there are important matters to be discussed. Any distractions, including chatting even at minimal levels, can make a discussion go off course. Don’t let things slide here and there because those exceptions will be abused.
- DO: Do have a level of professionalism in your meetings, especially executive meetings and anything that really has a significant amount of importance. Set standard expectations for the group and make them very clear. And most importantly, lead by example because you are the person running the meeting for a reason.
So student leaders, here are a few ways you can keep the ball rolling when the going gets tough! Just remember to know your objective, how your going to accomplish it, and definitely implement these few ways to keep that meeting going in the right direction.