How to Run Effective Community Group Meetings
Community members can give up a considerable amount of time and energy to help a group achieve its vision and mission. It is therefore essential that community group meetings should be effective as possible. The best meetings are those that flow logically, keep all members engaged and energised, elicit a range of useful ideas and information and leave members feeling they have made a valuable and valued contribution.
Before the meeting
- Encourage community group members to attend meetings regularly and be on time;
- Set an agenda of what’s needed to be achieved by the end of the meeting and send it out in advance of the meeting. It is okay to add more items for discussion (usually called “any other business”) if required; and
- Be prepared for the meeting. Ensure meeting papers are sent out before the meeting.
During the meeting
- Have a strong and effective chair to ensure the meeting is conducted efficiently and that meeting rules are adhered to;
- Welcome and thank participants for attending the meeting and highlight what the meeting hopes to achieve;
- Keep the meeting on track and when necessary, stop discussions which have nothing to do with the issue, is unhelpful or disruptive;
- Test out different discussion techniques to ensure everyone has an opportunity to air their thoughts;
- Focus on facts, not hearsay or gossip;
- Adopt a formal decision making process. This will help to ensure that all views are considered before a decision is made and recorded in the minutes; and
- Have fun – humour in good taste often helps to get the job done!
Closing the meeting
- Ensure there is a fair delegation of jobs and tasks;
- Ensure that meeting decisions are carried out within the timeframes decided at the meeting;
- Maintain a clear record of minutes (and record decisions and agreements) – they are a legal document and can be used as evidence;
- Be flexible in terms of nominating a date, time and place of next meeting; and
- Close the meeting and thank everyone for their attendance and contributions.
Further information can be accessed via the OurCommunity website.