October 2, 2012

The Spark.

Running Effective Meetings.

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

With the start of the new semester, your organization has a fresh start to a new and exciting year with new events, new activities, and a new way of doing things. But before the fun can happen, meetings and planning has to take place. Getting together with the members of your organization should be fun, informative, and of course, productive. Whether you are planning an event or building some team bonding, here are some tips to help run your meetings a little bit more smoothly.

Use an Agenda. Pre-planning is an important part of how to run an effective meeting. It is a good idea to have a plan of what you want to cover during the meeting so you don’t waste time talking off topic. Having the agenda readily available for your members helps them to focus and follow visually as well as auditory. Allotting a certain amount of time for each topic also helps to keep things on track and keeps the meeting from running too long. Try it out and see if using an agenda helps you run your meetings more efficiently.

Location, Location, Location. In the Real Estate industry, location is key and it should be for your meetings as well. Where you choose to have your meetings sets the tone for the purpose and audience of your meeting. The Union Rec Center may not be the best place to hold a formal budget meeting. On the other hand, what location would you choose to hold a more informal brainstorming session? Why not hold your next officer meeting at a local coffee shop? Our UWM campus and surrounding community have a host of different venues that are available for your meetings. Remember to be strategic and creative when choosing your next meeting’s location!

Communication. Communication can make or break a meeting and your organization’s success. Before a meeting starts, communication is important in setting time, location, and purpose. Easy access communication can be made through emails or your group’s PantherSync page. During your meeting, communication should be open to make sure every member of the group has a chance to speak and get their opinions heard. Moreover, communication does not stop when the meeting is over—it is important that your ideas are recorded via minutes and sent out to attendees and anyone who maybe missed the meeting. Overall, communication before, during, and after a meeting is essential in ensuring that your organization makes progress and stays on task with its mission.

Keeping Things Social. One thing that is important to keep in mind when planning a meeting is that despite how much work needs to be done or how much content needs to be covered, your group members are supposed to have fun. A student organization is a social event! Promote group bonding during meetings by allowing time for members to catch up on each-others’ day, adding an ice breaker to the start of every meeting, or scheduling a social event after a meeting concludes. Allowing your group members to bond socially, can lead to stronger relationships between group members, instilling a stronger commitment to the organization. This Issue of

The Spark was written by Lauren Thomas and Danielle Croegaert, two of the newest employees for the Center for Student Involvement who will be working with Student Organization Training and Development. The Center of Student Involvement offers training and workshops to help your organizations function better. Need advice, training, or help? Request our service for your next meeting.