When my kids started elementary school it wasn’t just a whole new world for them… it was also one for me. I missed knowing so much about their daily lives, and decided that getting involved at the school would be a good way to be aware of what they were now experiencing. So, began my journey where I volunteered (or got volun-told) to get involved in activities ranging from being a member of a PTA fundraising committee to helping to plan school social events. And you know what? I really liked helping out the school in any way I could.
After a few years, I decided to take on leadership positions, so I could help with even more impact. Suddenly, I had to lead meetings (something I didn’t have much experience with) where things needed to get accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. With a little trial and error, I finally got a formula that worked and lead to well run meetings that accomplish goals and the participants made good contributions. Here are seven tips I learned to lead a meeting. Hopefully, they can benefit another mom no matter if it is leading a school fundraising meeting or a board meeting.
- Make an agenda. List out the topics to be covered and include the names of any speakers that need to present information. Make the agenda available to all participants at least 24 hours in advanced. This will give everyone time to prepare, and make the meeting run smoother.
- Start on time. This will make everyone feel like their time is valued, and sets the expectation that this will be an orderly meeting.
- Stick to the plan. The main job of the leader of any meeting is to keep the discussion on track. Follow the agenda and refer back to it if side conversations start. If other topics are brought up, either suggest that they be discussed at the end if time allows, or ask the group if this new issue should be added to a future meeting’s agenda.
- Make sure everyone feels they have been heard. Give people a chance to voice their concerns and give suggestions. Even if a comment doesn’t fit with the vision of the overall goal, remember to challenge the idea and not the person.
- Sum up what has been accomplished. As the meeting comes to a close, give a brief summary of what goals were met. Sharing the results keeps everyone connected. Plus, it can be pointed out what still needs worked on, so participates can prepare for the next meeting.
- End the meeting on time. Once again this makes everyone know that their time is valued, and gives framework to the meeting.
- Bring food. If all else fails, this is the one way to make sure that people will show up and leave happy. A win-win for everyone.