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Effective Meetings

TIPS FOR YOUR GENERAL MEETING

Make your general meeting interesting, informative and relatively short. Set a time limit on presentations and plan a time for adjournment. Be sure to explain what your group has been doing and what your goals and proposals are at the meeting. Allow time for general discussion. It is important that everyone has an opportunity to express an opinion. Try to involve as many residents on committees or other activities as possible.Be sure to set the date for your next meeting. Try to determine a standard time and place. Monthly meetings are important to build a solid neighborhood association people can grow to depend on, but remember to have a plan for a meeting that is actually worth attending. A neighborhood should not put itself in the position of having meetings for the sake of having meetings.

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR MEETING PLACE

If you have a central location in the neighborhood that people can walk to, use it. Try a local church, library, campus building, business, fire department or other public facility that may have a meeting hall or auditorium available free of charge. Make sure that everyone can get to the meeting. Publicize a phone number for elderly or disabled residents to call if they need transportation to the meeting site. Make sure that the meeting place is suited to your population. Do you have older people who can’t manage the stairs? What about children? Is there proper heating and air conditioning? Make sure that you will have enough chairs for the number of residents you expect to attend. Familiarize yourself with the building before the meeting so that the location of such things as bathrooms, light switches and thermostats are known.

SETTING A DATE AND TIME

Try to select a date far enough in advance for your group to plan and publicize. The best meeting nights are generally Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. It’s important to consider the population of your neighborhood. Are most of the residents in your neighborhood people who work outside of the home? If so, 7 or 7:30 P.M. would be a good time to begin your meetings as it gives these neighbors time to have dinner beforehand. If you have a large population of elderly residents, you might want to consider an earlier meeting time.

GUEST SPEAKERS

If you decide to have a guest speaker at your neighborhood meetings, be sure to contact the speaker well in advance of the meeting date and confirm the date again by telephone the day before or the morning of the event. Be sure to download a copy of our Corner Post Resource Issue for ideas for speakers.You may wish to include your City Council representative by an invitation that also outlines your neighborhood concerns.

GOOD PUBLICITY IS A MUST AT THIS TIME!

The best way to reach your neighbors is by word of mouth and a door-to-door flyer. The makeup of your flyer can be very important. People are attracted to large print and catchy phrases. Be sure to include the purpose of your meeting, the name of the group, the location, date and time of your meeting. BE CREATIVE!Don’t stop at just putting the flyers on each person’s front door. Put them in your neighborhood grocery, drug store, gas station, church or any place local people might go. In addition, a phone call reminder to neighbors the day of or the day before your meeting can help to draw your crowd.

MEETING MAGIC

How many times have you left a meeting wondering why you came?

Here are some hints on running an effective meeting:

  • Start and end on time.
  • Set and follow agendas which include time limits on each item. Appoint someone as the timekeeper. If you have an Executive Committee, have it set the agenda.
  • Hand out an agenda. List which items are for decision, advice and information. List decision items first so that everyone is fresh and there is time to make good decisions. List advice items second and information items third so that if there is not enough time, the information can be sent out.
  • If one or two people tend to dominate the meetings, set time limits on comments.
  • Each meeting can include time to plan for the future.
  • If socializing is important to your group, put that into your agenda.
  • Get commitments from individuals for tasks that need to be accomplished.