By their meetings shall ye judge them

Wild 083

Good use of time — or a waste

Have you attended business meetings that seemed to be held only because they were scheduled? Or traditional? Or posted on the calendar? As attendees, how can we know which meetings to attend? Is that meeting worth missing the kids’ soccer game? Or skipping an important ball game at our alma mater? Here’s a hint to help you decide whether to invest those hours in a meeting.

Is your input – or just your presence – wanted?  Did you get a copy of the agenda ( a real agenda identifies the issues which will be addressed)? If the agenda is only a time schedule or if the agenda won’t even be available until the meeting, well, it’s pretty clear that you’re invited primarily to warm a seat. Either that or the organizer is, well, unorganized.

There’s a lesson here: we should be careful in our Toastmasters clubs that we don’t try to usurp our members’ time with officers’ meetings held just because “we should hold a meeting.” When we must schedule a meeting we should make sure we can actually state a reason for the meeting. The essential question:  is our meeting designed to benefit club members?

Another question: can the meeting be held by conference call, Skype, or via a (phone) texting session instead of face-to-face? (These should all be planned and have agendas, too.)

We start by outlining what we want the meeting to accomplish – then establish “action items” or questions we want to discuss. We always publish the action items as an agenda well before the meeting so attendees can be prepared to discuss the issues. It’s wise to appoint a timekeeper; when the time is up, discussion is over. (This is an effective way to encourage only pertinent discussion.)

A good plan includes summing up at the end of the meeting. We review the assignments that resulted from the discussion – and the deadlines for the assignments. More officers – or club members – attend meetings when they know the meeting is necessary and will be productive.

Good meetings follow thinking, planning and working hard – starting well before the meeting date.



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