October 19, 2011

The Spark.

The Spark: Jump Start Your Meetings
Welcome to The Spark - a tidbit of wisdom to stimulate ideas and help you transform your student organization.  The Spark is a new bi-weekly resource provided through the Center for Student Involvement which is sent to all registered officers through PantherSync.

We have all been to meetings that were just awful. As a student leader, your goal should be to develop meetings that no one wants to miss. You are asking your members to put the organization as their top priority. Make the experience a good one.

Set the tone. How does the meeting feel? Your attitude will dictate how others feel about the meeting. Start off upbeat – play music, greet people, do giveaways or recognize members. Students do not just join for the business – they are also there for the friendships and community. Dedicate pre-meeting time to fun, and the energy will carry through to your meeting content.

Be engaging. Do not just read your agenda and give officer reports – those items could be sent via e-mail. Instead include discussions, interactive activities, brainstorming sessions. Every member should have the opportunity to contribute at meetings, not just the officers. Be creative and content focused.

Start on time and end on time. Every time. No one likes to feel like their time is being wasted. As the leader, make sure that you arrive ten minutes early and be prepared. Celebrate those who show up on time. Set the tone from the beginning that you will always start on time, and eventually the stragglers will figure out that you are not going to stop to catch them up. Always end on time. If the meeting is scheduled for an hour, end at the hour. If there is consistently too much on the agenda that is causing you to go long, work with your fellow officers to determine what adjustments you can make.

Need more help with your meetings? Contact the Center for Student Involvement to set up a consultation. To make a training request, visit www.activities.uwm.edu and click on Organization Training and complete the Training Request for Registered Student Organization form. You can also access this form in PantherSync through the "Forms" tool. Trainings may also be requested by emailing activities@uwm.edu or calling 414-229-5780.