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. Some are routine and regular, such as the monthly unit committee meeting. Others are called as situations warrant, but be careful when doing so. You may think you need to hold a meeting but the same results could be achieved by a series of phone calls or stand-up discussions.

Just about every unit holds a monthly committee meeting. It’s expected and outlined right in the Troop Committee Guidebook and in the training. If you are a committee chair, making sure that the monthly meeting accomplishes its intended goal is a priority. Many people will be attending and hoping that it’s a good use of their time as well as a benefit to the unit.

As I’ve discussed before, having an agenda is an essential part of any meeting, to serve as a road map and guide to how the meeting should unfold. Unexpected surprises are usually unwelcome. The meeting should also work toward arriving at a resolution on each agenda item, and assigning who does what by when serves the meeting purpose more than meeting minutes or a detailed transcription.

Equally important is to consider whether the meeting is of value to its participants. An individual has the expectation that their presence and participation will help further the aims of the committee. This includes having a material influence on some aspect of the meeting or an item on the agenda. It could also include picking up information that will make that person more effective in his or her position, whether it’s a den leader learning about an important event or opportunity or an advancement coordinator gaining a better understanding of the online advancement system. If someone isn’t any better off attending the meeting than they would be if they just read the meeting report, attending the meeting might not be the best use of their time.

Our volunteers give their precious time to help out. It’s important to respect that, and be responsible for the use of that time toward the aims of Scouting and the Scouts in our units.

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