Women’s Committee Handbook
The meeting leader must focus the energy and attention of participants and keep them moving towards the meeting’s objectives. This is a multifaceted task that can be better understood by breaking a meeting into three major components.
The Major Components of a Meeting
Content – The information, knowledge, experience, opinions, ideas, myths, attitudes and expectations that participants bring to the meeting.
Interaction – The way participants work together while processing the meeting’s content. This includes feelings, attitudes and expectations that bear on cooperation, listening, participation, trust and openness.
Structure – The way in which both information and participants are organized to achieve the meeting’s purpose.
An effective leader is attentive to each of the above meeting components. The meeting leader’s role is to monitor progress and provide direction. In some meetings participants help provide direction. This makes the leader’s job easier. In other meetings the leader is requires to provide most of the direction.
To be an effective leader you must be able to analyze each situation, determine what is needed to move forward and take necessary action to achieve the objectives. On the following page is an outline of activities in each of the component areas that may be appropriate during a meeting.
The leader’s role is to monitor the activity in each key component areas and provide missing elements required to move the group toward the meeting’s objectives.
Sticking to Business
- To prevent wandering during your meetings, use some of these techniques:
- Plan discussion, set your goals for what you want to accomplish
- Plan, Plan, Plan
- Plan your agenda Focus on local issues
- Start on time
- Move non-agenda, non-critical issues to next month’s agenda
- Use board meeting time wisely, don’t waste time on delegate-able decisions
- Be aware of board meeting time and its allocation Eliminate unnecessary recesses
- Ban cell phones or excuse cell phone users from the room Hold questions until the speaker is finished
- Set time limits for reports and speakers
Seven Ways to Stop Meeting Creativity
- We’ve never done it that way in this organization.
- We’re not ready for that yet.
- We’re doing all right without it.
- We’ve tried that once and it failed. Why bother doing it again?
- It cost too much.
- That’s not our responsibility. Why should we get involved?
- It won’t work.
Directions: Consider the typical meeting you attend. Compare your meeting to the following characteristics of an effective meeting. Check those statements that apply to meetings you normally conduct or attend.
- An agenda is prepared prior to the meeting.
- Meeting participants have an opportunity to contribute to the agenda.
- Advance notice of meeting time and place is provided to those invited.
- Meeting facilities are comfortable and adequate for the number of participants.
- The meeting begins on time.
- The meeting has a scheduled ending time.
- The use of time is monitored throughout the meeting.
- Everyone has an opportunity to present his or her point of view.
- Participants listen attentively to each other.
- There are periodic summaries as the meeting progresses.
- No one tends to dominate the discussion.
- Everyone has a voice in decisions made at the meeting.
- The meeting typically ends with a summary of accomplishments.
- The meeting is periodically evaluated by the participants.
- People can be depended upon to carry out any action agreed to during the meeting.
- Minutes of the meeting are provided to each participant following the meeting.
- The meeting leader follows up with participants on action agreed to during the meeting.
- The appropriate and necessary people can be counted on to attend each meeting.
- The decision process used is appropriate for the size of the group.
- When used, audiovisual equipment is in good working condition and does not detract from the meeting.
Number of statements checked____________ x 5 = ____________ Meeting Score
A score of 80 or more indicates you attend a high percentage of quality meetings. A score below 60 suggests that work be required to improve the quality of meetings you attend.