How do I plan a meeting?

The three key parts to your 4-H meeting.

Did you know the typical 4-H meeting as three key parts? Michigan State University Extension will explore what these parts are and why a meeting may only include one or two of these parts. Meeting come in all shapes and sizes, and your meeting should always meet the needs of the majority of your members. You should also always keep in mind the audience when planning your meeting, and whenever possible, include some of that audience in the actual planning.

The three main parts to a club meeting are fun, business and learning. When we speak of fun we are thinking about recreational and social activities. This may include refreshments, recreations, relationship or team building and time for celebration and reflection activities. Many times this can happen in a 15 to 20 minute time frame.

Business is a time when your club may use the parliamentary procedure and conduct the business of the club. Depending on the club, there may be a lot of business to deal with or a short agenda. In either case conducting a business meeting is beneficial. Members learn about order and engage in discussion and planning during this time. It may vary in length depending on the needs of the group. Younger members can be engaged as pledge leaders, taking role call or other simple tasks. Older members serve as officers and conduct the business meeting. Adults may help them to prepare for their roles, but should allow them to run the meeting and seek input from the membership.

Learning in a club setting comes in a variety of forms, but allows members and sometimes adults to learn about a project, activity or event. Suggestions for this part of the meeting include tours, show-n-tell, demonstrations, speakers, special programs, community service activities, movies and other activities. Items that fall in this category can vary in length or may be the entire focus of a meeting. Whatever is planned needs to take into consideration the ages of the group members so it is appropriate for everyone or it is made clear what age groups should participate. A club may select more than one activity and divide the group into teams by age or interest to ensure that everyone will benefit from participating. However, everyone in the club does not need to be a part of everything the club does. Members may have a variety of interests and activities may be set up to help them explore that interest or learn about a specific skill.

Depending on what your club needs to accomplish at a meeting you may only have time for one or two of these parts. So plan your meeting with time for what you need to accomplish and know that is OK if you are missing a part. Sometimes building your team may take the whole hour you have planned and you may not conduct an actual business meeting that month; focus on the task at hand and allow time to accomplish that task. There may be another meeting that is taken up with one of other components, but just make sure it is working for you and your members.

When you plan your next meeting think about which of these components you will include and involve your members in deciding what happens in your club. You may find additional resources for planning in the Michigan 4-H club development guide and see a diagram entitled, “How a Typical Club Meeting is Split.”

If you are interested in finding out more about Michigan 4-H, visit your local MSU Extension office.

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