How To Run More Effective Club Meetings
Meetings can be a great way to achieve goals, build community, and develop new skills. However, we all know that feeling of fidgeting through a poorly run meeting. Wondering why you are even there. Whether you are the president of a student organisation, the leader of a professional association, or the chairperson of a local club, running effective meetings is key to achieving your group's objectives.
So, let's explore how to run more effective club meetings. So, you will never see the ‘this could have been an email face’ in your meetings again.
At Member Jungle, we have been helping clubs organise better for years, in that time we have learnt a lot about the best ways for clubs to run meetings. Not to mention that we have plenty of our meetings to fit in around our busy schedule. So, let us cover some of the best things you can do to run more effective meetings for your club.
Today we are going to cover:
- Does This Need To Be A Meeting?
- Setting Clear Objectives and Agendas For Meetings
- Taking Better Meeting Minutes (+ Free Downloadable Template)
- Use Visual Aids In Meetings
- Encourage Participation
- Time Management In Meetings
- A Clear Next Step
Does This Need To Be A Meeting?
Before we start talking about meetings, we need to talk about whether the meeting even needs to happen. This may seem obvious, but you would be shocked at how often people run meetings that didn’t need to happen in the first place. So before you go ahead and schedule a meeting, make sure that a meeting is the best way to get what you need.
Sometimes an email or phone call will be more than enough. If you’re unsure whether you should organise a meeting or not. Send an email about the information you want to discuss and ask the recipients whether they would prefer a meeting.
Setting Clear Objectives and Agendas For Club Meetings
When it comes time to organise a meeting, make sure you know exactly what you hope to achieve. Having clear objectives and an agenda will help keep your meeting focused and on track. So, make sure you know exactly what you will cover and in what order you’ll cover it. Doing this will ensure all the topics are covered within the set time.
Clear objectives and agendas can help your participants be prepared for the meeting. If everyone knows what is going to be covered they can be prepared and in the right headspace to discuss those topics.
Do not overload your meeting with topics to cover. Now this can be hard if you only have one meeting a week. You may have to cram your meeting full of topics to cover everything you need to. However, if you can manage it, have two or three smaller meetings instead of one big one. It’s a sad fact, but our attention spans are quite short these days. Making your attendees sit through a 90-minute meeting can be mentally taxing for everyone involved and can lead to a lot of mental switch off.
If possible, split your meeting into smaller 20 - 30 minute meetings. This is much more in line with the average attention span. By doing this, you will find that a few people will not need to be in all three meetings. This will save those people from having to sit through unnecessary meetings. Smaller groups mean your meetings will be more productive and on topic.
You know what you want to achieve in your meeting; now it’s time to set an agenda. A meeting agenda should provide a clear outline of the topics you will cover during the meeting.
A good agenda should include:
- Topics to be discussed
- The order in which they will be addressed
- Time allowed for each
- Time and space for audience contributions
- End with an action plan
The meeting agenda is a roadmap for the meeting. It will keep it focused and on track. It helps to ensure that all topics are covered, that everyone has an opportunity to participate, and that the meeting stays within the time frame. A short productive meeting is a good meeting and a well-thought-out agenda will help you achieve this.
Taking Better Meeting Minutes
A vital part of any good meeting is taking good meeting minutes. Your minutes are there to be a record of what happens in your meetings and to see off any potential disagreements about what happened in the previous meeting. This is an important part of any good meeting. Making sure good meeting minutes are being taken is key to better meetings in the future.
To help you achieve this, here are a few tips to make sure your meeting minutes are taken better:
- Have a designated minute taker with no other role in the meeting
- Make sure the same person takes the minutes every time
- Use a meeting minute template
- Make sure the minutes get out to those who need them promptly
- Keep the minutes stored somewhere safe and easy to find
For more information on this look at How To Take Better Meeting Minutes For Your Club (+ Free Template).
Use Visual Aids In Meetings
Meetings can be a boring but necessary task in running a club or organisation. A great way to make your meetings more interesting is to include relevant visual aids in your meeting. What these visual aids are will depend on what you need to cover in your meeting.
If you are discussing the expenses and profits of your latest club event, use a free service like Graphy or Canva to illustrate your point visually. This will help keep people engaged in what you’re talking about and make it easier for them to understand what you’re saying.
Everything just got a little less dreary around here. The more interesting and engaging your meeting is, the more people will pay attention and the less you will have to recover things in future. So use images and visual aids wherever they are necessary.
Encourage Participation In Meetings
Getting the people in your meeting to actively participate can be a great way to keep everyone engaged and focused.
When those in your meeting are engaged and actively contributing, it creates a more dynamic and collaborative environment. This can help you generate more creative and innovative ideas. As well as a greater sense of ownership and investment in your club's goals.
Encouraging those at your meeting to actively participate can help build a sense of community and belonging within your club. When participants feel that their opinions are valued and heard, it can help to foster stronger relationships and increase member engagement and retention.
Letting your members participate in meetings will show them you value their opinions and insights. This will make your club meetings to be more engaging and successful.
Try creating a designated time in your agenda for your audience to participate. This will have the dual benefit of showing them you value their contributions and opinions. It will also help make sure your meetings run on time.
Time Management In Club Meetings
It’s no secret that a lot of people find meetings boring and mentally switch off during them. One of the best ways to avoid this is to manage your meeting time well.
The first thing to consider is how much time each section of the meeting agenda will take. Knowing this and sticking to a properly thought-out agenda is very important. If your meetings are constantly running over time it is a surefire sign that your agenda needs improving.
Secondly, look for sections of your meeting that may be able to happen in a separate meeting. If you have dedicated 15 minutes of your agenda to a topic that only relates to a few people in your meeting, consider breaking that off into a secondary meeting later. There’s no need for everyone else to sit around twiddling their thumbs while you and the treasurer talk for 15 minutes. Book a separate meeting with you and the treasurer and discuss it there. Maybe just mention the separate meeting in the main one, and extend an open invitation so no one feels as though they are being left out.
Lastly, embrace the early mark. If your meeting isn’t going to run for the whole time you’ve booked it for, do not stretch it so it runs longer. If your hour meeting comes in at 40 minutes, give everyone an early mark and adjust your agenda going forward. Maybe you can fit in more topics or maybe a shorter meeting is more than enough. A quick meeting doesn’t mean that it isn’t good, it just means that it was planned well.
A Clear Next Step
The last thing you need to do to ensure your meeting is as good as it can be is to end with an action plan. An action plan is a way to give everyone in your meeting a clear next step on what to do after the meeting. If you have made any decisions during your meeting your action plan should involve who is following up on those decisions. If you decided to host a new event during your meeting, your action plan should include who is taking the lead on getting that event ready. A good way to make sure your action plan has all the details it needs is to remember the three W’s. Who, what and when. Who needs to do what by when.
Doing this will help keep your meetings focused and productive, no one should ever leave your meeting thinking ‘What now?’.
Run Better Zoom Meetings
I know after the pandemic most of us are well across how to use Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. However, they are still a useful tool to use even when we can all be in the same room. Online meetings have several benefits, such as convenience, cost-effectiveness, increased productivity, better collaboration, and minute taking. Online meetings are more structured and focused, resulting in increased productivity. Participants can easily share documents and collaborate in real-time. Online meetings can be recorded for future reference or for those who were unable to attend. With AI you can also take meeting minutes of online meetings with much less hassle.
Again I’m sure we are all across this by now, but here are a few tips on online meeting etiquette.
- Sit close to the camera
- Don’t eat during the meeting
- Make sure you have a simple background
- Don’t use overwhelming or eye catching backgrounds
- When you’re not talking mute your mic but leave the camera on
Online meetings weren’t just a necessity during the pandemic, they are a very useful tool you should still be using.
Like a good meeting, a good article should end with an action plan. If you still want to know more about improving your meetings. Give our How To Take Better Meeting Minutes article a look and get access to a free meeting minute template.
If you’d like to know more about how a membership management system like Member Jungle helps you communicate better with your members. Have a look at, How can I communicate with my members from Member Jungle?
Other than that, get out there and run those meetings better than you ever have.
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