How to Measure Meeting Effectiveness

Meetings are essential to any organization especially to associations and not-for-profit management committee and boards. This is the breeding ground for innovation and decision making. They consume a significant amount of time as well which is why improving how it is done is equally important. Measuring the effectiveness of a meeting is a powerful way to make sound decisions and wise use of time. It is also a useful tool in improving the meeting experience for the benefit of the organization and for its members.

Metrics

Deciding which metrics to use during the evaluation of the effectiveness of your meeting can be tricky. Starting somewhere is better than not starting and it can be evolved overtime. Here are basic ways on how to measure the effectiveness of your meetings:

1. Survey and Feedback Forms

Start by using simple survey forms that are distributed and answered by the members of the meeting. This is a good way to gauge the sentiments of your attendees. You may place the following questions or points in your form:

  • What is the main goal of the meeting
  • Rate the place, time and agenda
  • What will you do differently after the meeting
  • What do you think are the benefits of the meeting
  • Comments and suggestions

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2. Action Items

During the meeting, action items will be discussed with deadlines. You may use this time frame as gauge whether the meeting was effective if the action items were carried out on the specified deadline. Good tracking the status, following up and completion of action items, is a clear indicator of effective meetings resulting in positive action.

3. Attendance

Attendance is a metric itself. If you have a large membership, high engagement of your members by attending meetings is a good indicator on how much value members put on the meeting. For small groups, up to 10, you should really be getting full attendance. With meetings of groups up to 30, 80% attendance is a good target. Checking the arrival time of the attendees versus the starting time of the meeting can also be telling.

4. Agenda

Note the number of topics discussed that weren’t related to the agenda and how well the agenda was followed. If topics are constantly brought up that are not on the agenda then it is a sign that the proposed agenda isn’t covering what people are concerned about, or that discussion is not be controlled adding unnecessary time to the meetings.

What makes good meeting minutes?

Taking good meeting minutes contributes greatly in making a meeting effective. It is an important source of information about what transpired during the meeting, especially for those who were not able to attend. Aside from the fact that for many associations, they are legally required to keep minutes of the management committee or board, there are three basic reasons why keeping meeting minutes is important:

  • Memories are unreliable and therefore, written records that includes action items and decisions made are useful references.
  • They drive action. Meeting minutes can be used as reminders for tasks and action items that needs to be accomplished.
  • They serve as metrics. Meeting minutes records goals, strategies and deadlines for such, which makes it a good tool when measuring progress.

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What are good meeting minutes?

The following are characteristics of good meeting minutes:

1. Records attendance

Good meeting minutes indicates those who were invited before the meeting and those who actually attended.

2. Decisions, actions and owners

It is important to take note of the decisions and action items that were agreed upon during the meeting including their assignees. It is helpful to use a table for this part of the report.

3. Report and relevant files

If there were reports and other files presented during the meeting ensure that copies of these are included in the minutes.

4. Use a structured format

The structure that you use in writing the minutes of the meeting is as important as the information written in it. It is better to start your report with logistical facts that includes the meeting time, date, venue and attendees. Then use the agenda as the outline of your report. State the action items, files and assignees under each agenda item.

5. Distribute the minutes

Ideally, minutes should be sent within 24 hours after the meeting.

4 Ways to Increase Attendance in Meetings

The rate of attendance of members and volunteers in a meeting is crucial to not-for-profit organization. Attendance is essentially optional as it can’t be mandated. Meeting attendance increases the coherence and communication among all members. However, for some organizations, achieving this is a real challenge.

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Before you go and execute your plans to increase the attendance of members in a meeting, try to understand why they do so poorly first. There are various reasons why people do not attend meetings, here are some:

  • They do not know about the meeting
  • They receive late meeting notices
  • Negative perception of meetings in your group
  • They cannot voice out their suggestions
  • Meetings are irrelevant to them
  • Meetings are boring or take too long
  • Meeting place or time is inconvenient for them
  • Meetings have an unclear agenda

1. Agenda

The agenda of a meeting should be planned well ahead of time. With a time frame for each item. This will allow the facilitator to properly determine who should attend as well as the urgency of the meeting. As stated in no 1, if members feel that the meeting is irrelevant to them or has an unclear agenda, they will not bother attending.

2. Time and Place

Meetings should be scheduled and organized well beforehand. This is to ensure that members will be able to book the meeting in their schedules conveniently. Other commitments of members and volunteers need be taken into account so that attending the meeting is easier for them. Moreover, try to book a venue that is convenient for everyone by making sure that it is near and accessible.

3. Sufficient Notice

It is important to notify everyone well in advance usually using email about the meetings details and requesting a response to ensure receipt of the information. Key points that should be included in the email are the following:

  • Time
  • Location
  • Agenda
  • Reports
  • Motions on Notice
  • Outstanding Actions List From Previous Meetings If There Are Any

4. Healthy Discussion

Try to promote a healthy discussion-oriented environment during your meetings. You may do this by allotting specific time slots for members to talk and listen. Remember to also call out anyone courteously should they take too much time in talking. In addition to that, if people feel that their suggestions are being considered, and that their presence is highly valued during meetings their desire to attend.

What is the Difference Between a Motion and a Resolution?

 Resolution

The words “motion” and “resolution” are often used and heard of in the meetings of the board of directors of an organization. These are annual meetings that serve as platforms in proposing actions and mounting decisions. Both terms are often used simultaneously and are sometimes used interchangeably which brings about unnecessary confusions and misunderstandings. The real deal is that these two words are completely different from each other and should not be used in place of the other.

Motions

Simply put, motions are proposals with the aim of making the members of the meeting deliberate on the issue at hand. Motions are proposed by directors that, more often than not, needs a “seconder” before the board can debate on the issue and consider voting for a decision. Moreover, it is not required that a motion be put down into writing, it can be done so verbally. Lastly, motions are well accepted as decisions of the board and does not reflect that of the whole organization.

Resolutions

A resolution, on the other hand, is a motion that has been passed by the members of the meeting of the board of directors. Technically, a motion that is passed by majority of the members present and voting becomes a resolution. It is a formal act that is implemented and is binding of the board members.

Difference

Here are the vital differences between a motion and a resolution:

  • A motion is a proposal from a member of the meeting whereas a resolution reflects the general opinion of the board
  • Generally speaking, not all motions can be resolutions but all resolutions come from motions
  • Generally speaking, a motion can be put forward verbally whereas a resolution is written down and recorded

How Do Good Meetings Increase Volunteer Participation?

Meetings are channels of communication. It is one of the oldest yet most effective way to engage people into civil, creative and intellectual discussions. If a meeting is done correctly, it can make members feel relevant thus increasing their participation. A successful organization is always backed up by an effective and efficient meetings.

What is a Good Meeting?

In a good meeting, ideas of each member is heard. These ideas are then deliberated at a reasonable speed and discussions are focused solely on the topic at hand. To hold a good meeting, there must be a good chairperson. A effective chairperson takes charge of the meeting and monitors it well so that the discussion does not go off track by keeping an agenda and allotting time for every agenda item. Good participants come to the meeting prepared and showcases their listening and speaking skills at the correct time.

Agenda

For a meeting to be efficient, an agenda must be set before the meeting and sent out to participants for review and preparation.

Time

Meeting are prone to clutters and irrelevant discussions. To ensure that everything stays on track, set a time frame for every agenda item. If possible, display the time and agenda item on hand at a screen for every member of the meeting to see and adhere to.

Discussions

Allot time for discussions so that everyone gets to share what they have in mind. Courteously call out anyone who is exceeding their time allotment to talk.

How Good Meetings Increase Volunteer Communication 2

Increase Participation

Effective meeting can increase volunteer participation by:

  • Keeping everyone in the same page which avoids misunderstandings/miscommunications
  • Providing help to any member of the team who voices out their concern
  • Helping stir the morale of members by providing a greater sense of teamwork
  • Providing public recognition to members who deserve it
  • Honing the skills of members to become future leaders of the organization
  • Breaking the ice between new and old team members
  • Reinforce target organizational culture
  • Providing a sense of purpose to the activities of the organization
  • Increasing accountability by providing a sense of decision making to members

Meeting Conflicts? Don’t Panic!

Do you experience conflicts during meetings? Don’t panic and don’t worry. This is a normal situation. It is actually healthy when there are conflicts in a meeting, this just means that ideas are being generated.

Healthy Conflicts vs Unhealthy Conflicts

Conflicts are not all the same, but there are the basic characteristics to determine whether the conflicts that occur in your meetings are healthy or not.

Healthy Conflicts

  • Encourages idea generation
  • Energizes members of the meeting
  • Excites the members of the meeting for a project
  • Challenges members
  • Doesn’t affect the members outside of the meeting room

Unhealthy Conflicts

  • Slows down progress of projects
  • Demoralizes team members
  • Results to conflicts outside the meeting
  • Involves shouting and using personally hurtful words
  • Cannot be resolved

Benefits of Good Meeting Etiquette

Managing Conflicts

There is no absolute way to prevent conflicts in meetings from occurring however there are ways to manage them and keep them on the healthy level once they occur. Here are basic steps on how to do just that.

1. Redirection

An unhealthy conflict often involves a topic that just goes in circles. Resolve this by interrupting the discussion courteously and redirecting the attention to the real agenda.

2. Set Boundaries

Reinstate personal boundaries in meetings because they can be easily crossed during a conflict. Again state the results that you want to achieve from the meeting and share that with the team. State as well personal issues will not help at all.

3. Tone

The tone of a person’s voice can be mistakenly interpreted during a meeting. Make sure that everyone talks objectively and calmly during the entire duration of the meeting. If one needs to voice out their concern, ensure that it is expressed professionally.

4. Negotiation

Discuss what members can compromise in their ideas or suggestions in order to generate a decision or a move forward during the meeting. When a decision is agreed upon, double-check the outcome with the members by announcing the decision again.

5. Take Notes

If conflicts are frequent in your meetings, try to take down notes and review them before a meeting. This will help reduce the possibility of conflicts. Share this as well with everyone in the team.

5 Tips to Effectively Chair a Meeting

What is a chairperson?

A leader is essential in any group, project or organization. This is to ensure that everyone stays on track in achieving the groups target or goals. The same is true with meetings, there is a leader as well to guide the flow of the agenda. In a meeting, this person is referred to as the “chairperson” or simply the “chair”.

Here are the main responsibilities of a chairperson:

  • Ensures the meeting flow sticks to the agenda
  • Members respect each other
  • The rules of the meeting are observed
  • Encourages decision making
  • Supervise or prepare notices, agenda, reports, meetings and follow ups

Tips

Every group, team or organization is unique. Each may require a different approach in terms of chairing meetings. But we have outlined basic ways on how to effectively chair meetings to ensure that the best positive outcome is achieved.

1. Set goals

Before the meeting starts it is important to determine what the goal of the meeting is. Specifically, what outcome or decisions should be agreed upon during the meeting? This can be used as metrics to measure the effectivity and efficiency of the meeting as well.

2. Notices

It is important to release advance notices about relevant meeting information to members. The notice should include the following:

  • Agenda
  • Project/Agenda item head
  • Time of the meeting
  • Place of the meeting
  • Relevant documents
  • Minutes of the preceding meeting if applicable

3. Time Management

During the meeting, one good way to ensure that everyone stays on track is to set a time frame per agenda item. The role of the chair is to make sure that time frame is observed. If possible, put the timer on a screen for everyone to see.

4. Encourage and Manage Participants

If the floor is open for discussion, observe who are talking too much and those who are not. Manage those who talk too much by interrupting them politely and encourage those are remaining quiet for their input. If there is a conflict among members, step in by reminding them of the goal of the meeting and negotiate among members in order to arrive at a decision.

5. Evaluate

Once the meeting is done, you may evaluation sheet to gather the opinions and suggestions of the members in terms of facilitating the next meeting. Improve on areas that makes the meeting effective and avoid those that slows the progress of the meeting.