Do you often feel frustrated after your committee meetings? Do you feel that you are not accomplishing what you set out to accomplish? What do you do when meetings seem endless or unproductive? First, you need to figure out why. Common reasons for ineffective meetings include:
- You’re not clear on what you want to get out of the meeting
- People are getting off topic
- People aren’t participating or staying engaged
All of these challenges can be dealt with. Let’s start with you. It’s important to set an agenda before your meeting and to be realistic about how much you can cover in the time you have. If you’ve set aside two hours for your meeting, you probably won’t be able to cover 25 topics. You need to prioritize and plan accordingly.
Before the Meeting
Sit down and figure out what you’re trying to achieve. Your goal could be getting people to commit to soliciting a certain number of items for your auction, or maybe you need to come up with a promotional plan and divide up those duties. Whatever your goal, you’ve got to set one or more before your meeting.
Once you have your agenda together, email it out to everyone before the meeting, so they know what will be covered. You can also ask someone to help you stay on top of the agenda during the meeting. Being able to ask someone else, “What’s next on the agenda?” can help you keep things moving. You might even assign a time-keeper so that you can get through your agenda.
During the Meeting
It’s also useful to have someone take notes and track “meeting minutes”, so you have a record of what was discussed. Even more importantly, you have a record of the decisions that were made. It’s key to make note of what the next steps will be. Emailing out notes after the meeting with a summary of everything, including next steps, can make a huge difference in keeping everyone on task.
Keep the Meeting on Track
Now let’s take a look at the issues that aren’t entirely under your control. What happens if, despite your best efforts, your item solicitation brainstorm turns into a lengthy discussion about the last episode of Downton Abbey or Game of Thrones? It’s understandable that people want to socialize, but the middle of a committee meeting is not the time to do it. To circumvent this, you can do one of two things. You can plan for the first 10 minutes or so of the meeting to be a “catch up time” or you can let everyone know you’ve set aside some time at the end of the meeting to chat and catch up. As an added touch, you can bring in some treats like cookies or cupcakes for everyone to enjoy then as well.
So what do you do about people who are simply not engaging in the meeting? Unfortunately, you can’t force people to listen. However, if you’re noticing a pattern, you can address this with your team. You can take a few minutes at the start of your meeting to let people know you need their full attention. That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will tune in, but sometimes people don’t realize they aren’t paying attention. We all have a lot on our minds, and sometimes we just need a gentle reminder to stay present and listen.
We hope these tips will help you manage your auction committee meetings more easily. Stay tuned for future posts with new tips like these!