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Author Topic: Running a meeting?  (Read 458 times)
grahame
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« on: February 16, 2020, 02:47:54 pm »

I attend a lot of meetings.  They're not an end - but rather a means towards an end (or towards a continuation).  Some meetings are a travesty of wasted opportunities, others are golden.  Here's a checklist - something prepared a while back after one shocking meeting ... and now used as a quick "reminder to self" when there's a meeting in the offing.. Please feel free to use.  As per the pirate's code in "Pirates of the Caribbean" ... not so much a set of rules - more some guidelines.



Notes – a  “meeting checklist”

0. Before the day of the meeting
* Be clear on meeting objectives
* Choose a date to suit everyone
* Make it long enough to be worthwhile people coming
* Will you need a microphone / speaker system / other technical stuff?
* Serving teas and coffees?
* Should you record it?
* Will the speaker(s) be at the right level for the audience?
* Pre-publicity to attract people along
* Helping people get there - map and perhaps train and bus times?

1. Immediately before the meeting
* Make sure visual aids work, clear line of sight to any displays, etc
* Roll up banner outside to announce meeting
* Meeting located and timed to allow for arrival / departure by train. Waymarked from Station?
* Sign in sheet to include contact details / tick for GDPR for single follow up email
* Meeting organisers to have ID badges
* Appointed "trustee" regular members to greet newcomers and make them feel welcome. Part of that to hand out "about organisation" and "how to get back in touch" trifold

2. Conduct of the meeting
* Separate meeting chair from speaker
   - to introduce organsation, organiser, timing of meeting and emergency exit stuff
* All attendees (if less than 60) to be invited to briefly introduce themselves
* Speaker to use presentation aids (such as maps and pictures) projected to aid his talk
* Chair to field questions / assist the speaker as appropriate
* Meeting organiser to help latecomers enter quietly and not interrupt main speaker
   (even to sell raffle tickets)
* Provide opportunity to briefly raise other key matters (organiser and attendees)

3. After the main talk
* Ensure the meeting concludes at the advertised time
   (though discussion groups can stay around)
* Summaries, chair to thank the speaker and re-stress his knowledge base
* Presentation board(s) to look at afterwards
* Ensure that everyone leaves with a summary sheet of the case
   (including contact and next meeting details and web site link for further details)
* Ensure everyone has opportunity to ask questions or to leave them in writing
* Have “what next” as an agenda item

4. As people leave
* Appointed trustee to thank everyone for coming and ensure they have all they need
* Talk to people to ensure they know how to follow up and leave on a positive
   "see you next time"

5. After everyone has left
* Follow up "thank you" email to speaker and attendees
* Minutes / report online shortly after
* Strike while the iron is hot for any follow ups

Most of the above “obvious” - but perhaps only obvious once pointed out!

Make what use you like of the above … (credit would be nice if you copy it)
prepared by Graham Ellis, not too long ago (but not in the last few days either!)
graham@railcustomer.info, http://www.passenger.chat

Vice Chair, Melksham RUG * A director of TravelWatch SouthWest * GWR “Coffee Shop” Admin
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 02:57:55 pm by Red Squirrel » Logged

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bobm
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2020, 02:56:34 pm »

If you have more than one speaker try wherever possible to get all their presentations onto one laptop so you can move seamlessly from one to the next.  There's nothing worse watching while people try to swap machines and get the projector to "talk" to the new device.
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chuffed
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2020, 03:37:40 pm »

As an organiser of a couple of groups requiring speakers, laptops and projectors, I find there is an increasing tendency (as the technology becomes more affordable?) for people to bring their own. However this is not fool proof and I usually have another laptop and projector standing by just in case the laptop and projector have had another fallout.
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bradshaw
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2020, 03:40:28 pm »

In the last two presentations I was invited to make the organisers wanted the slideshow a week before the talk. I just had to turn up and speak. Much easier, although I did bring a back-up copy!
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eightonedee
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2020, 04:54:57 pm »

Three more points-
 
1 - If possible, distribute and/or post on your website discussion papers for attendees to read and encourage them to read them. If it's a committee, then all members submitting reports should circulate them in advance, it saves a lot of tedious reading aloud, or attendees missing important points.

2 - Get someone to take minutes during the meeting. Better still find someone who is good then at summarising the main points in a succinct and organised manner.

3 - The chair needs to have the diplomatic skill to allow people to speak but ensure that they do not go off the subject, repeat themselves etc, and to allow less popular views to be aired (or views not in accordance with those of a loud assertive group!) to be heard.
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2020, 09:35:17 pm »

All excellent tips;  some I suspect hidden within existing bullets ...

Getting all the technical stuff on a single system ahead of the day is sensible - though not sure I would require a week ahead (nor that I would have prepared that far ahead - my talk on 7th Feb included slides on the government bus announcement on 6th!).  And, yes, letting people use their own systems but having a backup makes sense.  Also check out the Internet if needed for the evening AND have backups if it's not working!

Agenda preparation and chairing a meeting - whole new topic and perhaps a follow up post.
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2020, 11:26:56 pm »

Should the title of this thread not be Running a PRESENTATION, a meeting is where all are attending to discuss an isssue, for action or descicions, where a presenentation is to dieminate information to a large group of people, with limited discusion, if any?
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2020, 07:30:00 am »

Should the title of this thread not be Running a PRESENTATION, a meeting is where all are attending to discuss an isssue, for action or descicions, where a presenentation is to dieminate information to a large group of people, with limited discusion, if any?

I don't think I like "presentation" but then I will agree that "meeting" alone isn't the right word either.  How about "public meeting", "open meeting" or "general meeting"?   

But then they overlap. At one extreme you have an officer's meeting - three or four key people meeting over a cup of coffee to discuss policy and meta-matters (organisation rather than the organisation's interest topic).  At the other extreme, you have a public presentation or show - perhaps selling tickets, audience there to listen (be educated or entertained) rather than to contribute to any major degree.

My intent in putting the notes together was to look at the 'middle ground' ... remember it was written a while ago,  but examples that I look at where it is most appropriate are the bus meeting MRUG held on 7th of this month (see http://www.mrug.org.uk/bus.html ) and the FoSBR AGM on 14th.   Both had major speaker / update / presentation elements but also significant time for questions and audience participation.  Both were well flagged ahead of time and needed direction to the venue for people. Neither was a stand-alone, rather being an element in a longer term setup.  FoSBR was well run and worked well;  MRUG I'll leave others to comment as I'm too close to it to give an unbiased view, but I will say (looking at what has been happening since) that I am personally happy with the outcome.
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