A while back I posted a series of articles on making your committee meetings more effective. These were aimed at the committee chair or meeting facilitator to help improve the meeting experience for everyone concerned.
Harvard Business Review had a short “management tip” article recently on ways for participants to, as they put it, save the meeting that’s going nowhere. It’s a very short article but it can get you to thinking, especially if you’re stuck in such a meeting.
My solution to these issues is prevention, and that lies in the hands of the committee chair:
- Clearly state the business items and the desired outcome on the agenda. You’ll not know what success looks like until you define it.
- Every topic should have an “owner,” or as I call it on our agenda, a topic leader. The committee chair should try not to own too many topics on the agenda, or it turns into a soliloquy. Your committee is there to share in the work and the glory.
- If the topic leader can’t attend, and the topic isn’t urgent, table the item. If you end up tabling too many items, you might just have to postpone the meeting. It makes no sense to call a meeting being unprepared to conduct business – it’s a waste of everyone’s time. If you consistently have trouble getting people to attend, consider changing your meeting day or time. In our troop, we recently moved the committee meetings to the same night as the troop meetings – a move we should have made years ago – and it’s worked out fabulously. Greater committee and parent attendance has resulted and, thanks to some agenda tweaking, we actually get more done in less time.
The Glassdoor Blog, an excellent blog on corporate life, has some additional advice for meeting facilitators in an article Six Ways to Keep from Wasting Time in Meetings, many of which we’ve mentioned in our series on meetings. The one thing that keeps coming up in most of these articles is simple: Have an agenda and stick to it!
Being prepared to hold a productive committee meeting means making the best use of everyone’s time and resources, and the committee chair is the driving force behind success in that regard.