RUNNING A GROUP

Organiser Meetings

Published 23rd September 2019

The following section provides tips on how to run organiser meetings. It covers the main tasks and roles for before, during and after the meeting.

Before the meeting

Decide on the topic of discussion

Common meeting topics:

  • Planning for specific events and 1-on-1s
  • Brainstorming event ideas
  • Developing and revising group strategy
  • Evaluating a recent event based on feedback and observations

Determine a meeting venue

Suggested venues:

  • Meeting rooms e.g. a university room, coworking space, public library room
  • Committee member’s house
  • Public places e.g. café, park
  • Skype/Hangouts (if a physical meeting is not possible/practical)

Meeting leader roles

If you have a president, this person is the default meeting leader, but can assign the meeting to another organiser.

Meeting leader’s tasks:

  • Call the meeting. If you don’t have a regular meeting time, try using doodle.com or whenisgood.net to find good times for meetings
  • Write an agenda. Google docs makes it easy to have a shareable and editable format, plus the ‘Outline’ format (with indented numbered points) is helpful.
  • Send out the agenda, ideally 3 or 4 days in advance, and ask for any additional agenda items
  • If there are multiple items on the agenda, work out what the priorities are, and estimate how much time needs to be spent on each item
  • Designate a note taker for the meeting. This can be the group secretary, but it doesn’t have to be.

During the meeting

Suggestions for the Meeting Leader

  • Introduce each point on the agenda (or get other organisers to introduce points as appropriate)
  • Make sure that everyone gets a chance to speak (you can also assign someone else to keep an eye on this)
  • Prevent the conversation from straying too far off-topic.

  • When discussing proposals:

    • Describe the problem you are trying to solve before proposing solutions
    • List possible solutions before discussing pros & cons of each solution to avoid fixating on one answer too soon
    • Value other people’s ideas and give positive feedback
    • If there seems to be no clear solution, have everyone jot down an alternative idea (regardless of its merits). This way, you may be able to come up with more solutions
  • Help the group come to decisions after the options have been discussed

    • If it is a small group you can ask each person
    • If you have a large group at your meetings you may wish to take a poll of people’s positions, e.g. thumbs up, thumbs down, thumbs to the side (neutral)
  • Ensure the meeting covers everything it needs to, allocate sufficient time to specific topics and include Action Points to make the next steps clear

  • Summarise the key takeaways and priorities at the end of the meeting

  • Thank everyone for attending and volunteering!

Suggestions for the Note-taker

Ideally write notes onto a shared document. Usually the agenda is a good place as hopefully everyone has a version of this. It is probably best to take notes of key points and decisions rather than write down everything that is said.

The notes should include:

  • The date
  • People in attendance
  • Any decisions that were made - often a meeting occurs and people remember they had a discussion about something, but not what was decided in the end!
  • Action points; with assigned responsibility and due dates. Google docs allows you to assign tasks; make a comment and put +their email address, and they will be sent an email with the task. This is a good way of keeping track of Action Points in a long doc.

After the meeting

The note taker should read over the notes to edit where required, then send the document to the group. Put the action points, due dates and responsibilities in the body of the message to make it really obvious who has to do what!

The meeting leader (or project leader) should follow up with individuals on their tasks. The delegation section has a few tips on how to manage this.


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