There are many reasons why meetings are unproductive and frustrating. One common cause is the lack of an agenda. An agenda is an outline of the issues that a group will discuss during a meeting.
The agenda is prepared by the officers of the organization, with assistance from the organization’s advisor. An agenda starts with a list of general business items. Specific topics that are to be discussed at the meeting are placed under the proper agenda item in an outline format. The agenda (along with any supporting documents) is then printed and distributed to members at least one day before the meeting. This allows members to come to a meeting prepared to discuss their ideas, exchange information, and make decisions.
The following agenda items are standard in most groups. You can adapt them to meet the needs of your organizations, but be consistent. You may want to use “Robert’s Rules of Order.”
The Chair (usually the President or other designated officer) calls the meeting to order by standing, tapping the gavel once, and saying: “The meeting will come to order.” The Call Order may be followed by any opening ceremony the organization may have instituted.
The Chair says: “The Secretary (or another officer) will call role.” If attendance is taken, it should be done with the aid of a prepared list of members’ names. The list can include spaces for recording whether a member is present, absent, or tardy.
The Chair says: “The Secretary will read the minutes.” After the minutes are read, the Chair asks: “Are there any corrections to the minutes.” After corrections are made, the Chair asks: “If there are no (further) corrections, the minutes stand approved as read (or as corrected).”
The Chair recognizes each officer in turn. For example: “May we have the Treasurer’s report.” Officers may give reports of their current activities and administrative duties. Reports usually are for informational purposes. However, if a report involves a recommendation for action, the group may discuss the recommendation as soon as the report is finished.
The Chair calls for reports of permanent (or “standing”) committees first, followed by reports of special (or “ad hoc” committees. As each report is requested, the committee chair (or other member) rises and presents the report. If a recommendation is made in the report, it may be discussed as soon as the report is finished.
This category includes all business left over from previous meetings. The Chair works from a prepared list of unfinished business topics, announcing each one in turn for discussion and action.
The Chair asks: “Is there any new business.” Members can introduce new topics at this time.
The chair may make, or call upon other members of the organization to make, any announcements of interest to the group.
Some organizations have a speaker, film, or other educational or cultural program. This is usually presented before the meeting is adjourned as the program may require action to be taken by the organization.
When the agenda is completed, the Chair says: “If there is no further business, the meeting is adjourned.”
Of course, simply putting topics on a list will not make your meetings more productive. Keep these points in mind as you draw up and use an agenda.
Using an agenda at your meeting may not solve all of your problems. But an agenda does give a meeting direction and purpose. You may choose to be less structured than the format presented here, but some structure is critical in seeing that your organization “takes care of business”. Members are then able to leave a meeting feeling that they have accomplished their work and have contributed to the welfare of the organization.
From time to time, members of clubs and organizations will be asked to make a presentation of one kind or another.
This may mean:
The thought of making a presentation can provoke a lot of anxiety. This handout is designed to assist you in planning and delivering a presentation with less anxiety.
There is nothing worse than a presentation that sounds like it was put together at the last minute.
People have various learning styles. Some prefer hearing the presentation while others need visual aids. You will cover the bases if you use posters, charts or PowerPoint to supplement your presentation. These should focus attention on the important parts of your presentation and should be simple.
Important note: People act to satisfy their own needs and desires, not the needs of organizations or other people!
Emphasize the benefits and satisfactions members will gain, not the benefits to you or the organization. A person’s reason for joining your group will tell you how he or she wants to contribute.
Sometimes there are not set recipes for motivation. It isn’t always possible to create a perfect match between members and a project. However, there are some general motivators that are appreciated by everyone.
These are some ways to increase the motivation of all the people in your organization. Increasing motivation doesn’t require doing everything listed in this pamphlet. But deciding to make use of one or two ideas discussed here may help to raise the level of involvement and interest demonstrated by your members.
Parliamentary procedure is a set of rules for conduct at meetings that originated in the early English Parliaments. The following is a presentation of only the basic rules. For more information on parliamentary procedure refer to Roberts’ Rules of Order Newly Revised.
It is a time-tested method of conducting business that allows everyone to be heard and decisions to be made in an orderly fashion.
It is customary for organizations using parliamentary procedure to follow a fixed agenda. Here’s a typical example:
Members get opportunities to speak through motions. A motion is a proposal that the group takes a stand or takes action on some issue. There are four general types of motions.
The method of voting usually depends on the situation and on the laws of your particular organization. Typically there are five types of votes.
Using parliamentary procedure can be a successful way to get things done at a meeting, but it only works if you use it right. Also, parliamentary procedure isn’t for everyone. Depending upon the nature of your organization, you may prefer, and it may be more appropriate, for you to conduct business on a more informal basis.
In order for your organization to leave its legacy and continue to grow clubs and organizations should have an officer transition plan in place. Transitioning from year to year is more than just the new members taking over. It is a process of change and to create a positive experience for new and old members. This document is here to help with the process and give suggestions for how to make sure your club or organization is successful year to year. Please note you can also speak with your Student Life Advisor on any transition needs.
We highly suggest keeping documents electronic and on a shared drive online (BaySync).
Although you could create a binder, these fall apart over time from use and items could get lost. Ideas of what to include:
You must know the product before you can sell it. Knowing the answers to the following questions will help your group define or redefine your recruitment efforts.
Who do you want to attract to your group? Answer the following questions to help your group find and identify
potential new members.
Now that you have examined your organization and determined who potential members might be, you need to advertise your organization and position openings. Answering the following questions will help you develop your publicity strategy.
If your organization wants to make a sincere effort at recruiting diverse new members, then a combination of the following suggestions should be used. Remember the previous question, “what medium will most likely appeal to your potential new member?” Some groups only put an advertisement for their organization in the newspaper and then wonder why people do not show up. Time and effort are required to make a sincere, strong recruitment campaign.
Send letters or flyers promoting your club and position openings to your target population or to people who have contact with your target population.
Post flyers throughout campus. Place advertisements in the newspaper. Attend meetings of other organizations (registered student organizations, governing groups, etc.) and ask if you can make a short presentation/announcement regarding your organization and position openings. Hand out flyers at events that attract your target population. Have all current members make personal invitations to all target group people they encounter (in classes, where they work, where they live, etc.). Word-of-mouth and personal invitations are very powerful publicity tools. Make personal phone calls or visits to faculty and staff who have close contact with your target population. Ask them to promote involvement in your organization to the students.
Some organizations have a selection process for members and/or officers. It is important that your entire process is fair and consistent. The following are suggestions for a selection process.
Your new members, like old members, need to feel like they belong in the group. Get them involved in the activities of the organization. Solicit their ideas. Do activities of interest to them. Get to know the new members and help them to get to know you. Do not treat new people as intruders invading your territory. Let them know their contributions are needed and appreciated.