Say more by saying less

I’m sure you’ve been in many meetings where the chairperson or meeting facilitator does most of the talking. There’s the discussion of business, summary of past activity and general announcements. Many times, people are hesitant to speak up, so the chair just fills in the quiet spaces.

If you’re a chairperson, you know the feeling too. You begin to wonder why others don’t have anything to say. Sure, you can count on the secretary and treasurer to deliver prepared reports. You probably even have one or two talkative committee members who can go on and on.

The leader who does most of the talking can be an asset in certain situations, but to get the ideas flowing and the brains storming, try being quiet for a change. Continue reading “Say more by saying less”


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For best results, ask better questions

Leadership development is one of Scouting’s most important effects on its members. Ask anyone who was a Scout as a youth and they’ll probably tell you that in addition to learning how to camp, hike and respect the outdoors, one of the most important takeaways is that it helped them become a better leader.

What defines a leader? Reams have been written on the subject, but one of the best definitions comes from an item that surfaced in the early 1930s comparing a boss to a leader. The one we probably hear most often is A boss says “go” – a leader says “let’s go”. 

Among the list of comparisons are two that help to define the relationship between the leader and the led: Continue reading “For best results, ask better questions”


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Making the most of meeting time

meetings_250Meetings are one of the constant truths about serving Scouting as an adult volunteer. We enjoy serving the Scouts and helping them succeed, but it seems like we are constantly being called to meetings for one reason or another. Just last week I attended three meetings and there are a couple more this week.

The responsibility for making sure a meeting is productive – or even necessary in the first place – falls on the person calling and organizing the meeting. Continue reading “Making the most of meeting time”


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Seven ways to improve your committee meetings

meeting_f_250The unit committee is where the business of the pack or troop takes place. While the Scouts are busy doing the things Scouts do, the adults are taking care of things like finance, logistics, equipment and recordkeeping. And just like any other committee, meetings are unavoidable. In fact, we’re expected to meet monthly to help ensure that the business is taken care of.

Committee meetings can be a real drag if they’re not conducted efficiently. They can go on and on with little focus, not getting much accomplished other than frustrating the participants. So to keep your committee meeting from keeping the minutes and throwing away the hours*, try the following: Continue reading “Seven ways to improve your committee meetings”


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The dreaded data dump

dumptruck_250You know the routine. It happens every month.

The committee gets together for the monthly committee meeting. The meeting gets off to a late start because the chairman waits for stragglers (not a good idea, and the subject of another article). The treasurer goes into great detail about who has paid for camp and who hasn’t, how much last month’s groceries cost for each patrol, and who owes what.

The advancement coordinator goes down the list of each advancement item that was signed off, who earned merit badges last month and how many Scouts haven’t advanced in the last six, nine, or twelve months. (Or in a Cub Scout pack: Johnny earned a belt loop. Jorge earned a belt loop. Rajiv earned a belt loop….)

Then, someone joins the meeting late and everything gets repeated. Continue reading “The dreaded data dump”


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