Ten ways to invigorate meetings

We meet to get things done – explore ways to make meetings useful, meaningful and effective.

The English clergyman and poet John Donne said, “No man is an island.” To get something done, we need to talk and work with other people.  Talking with other people could take place in the form of a meeting, which sometimes feel like the bane of our human existence.

If we must attend meetings to get something done, how can meetings become more meaningful?   There are plenty of ways!  A great starting point is to acquire the book that gives direction; one example is “The Best of the Board Café” by Jan Masaoka. This book reads like a bible for non-profit boards, although much of its contents can apply to any group who has assembled to get something done.

These 10 suggestions to invigorate board meetings are just one practical example from Masaoka’s book:

  1. Supply name tags for everyone.
  2. Make a chart of frequently used acronyms.
  3. Write an anticipated action for each agenda item.
  4. Make sure each person says at least one thing.
  5. Avoid one-way presentations from staff.  Make sure what is being presented requires a response from the board.
  6. Don’t include committee reports on the agenda if they do not have anything to report.
  7. On the agenda, have an open-ended discussion on at least one of the most important matters facing the organization.
  8. Encourage “dumb” questions, respectful dissent and authentic disagreements.
  9. Make sure the room is comfortable.
  10. Start and end on time.

Additional information about effective meetings can be found in this Michigan State University Extension news article: “Characteristics of successful meetings.”

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