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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.”
1. Call to 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.
2. Roll Call
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.
3. Reading and Approval of Minutes
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).”
4. Reports of the Officers
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.
5. Reports of Committees
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.
6. Unfinished Business
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.
7. New Business
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.”
Using the Agenda
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.
- Be realistic about the amount of time each topic will take. Avoid an over-crowded agenda. If choices must be made, leave more time fro the important issues.
- Take up the less complicated topics first, leaving time at the end for the more complex issues. Stick to the agenda. During the meeting, the agenda is normally followed unless two-thirds of those at the meeting wish to change.
- Introduce each agenda topic with a word about why it is on the agenda. If appropriate, suggest a time limit for each topic.
- Allow a full discussion of each topic. People have the right to continue to debate an issue until they are finished or until two-thirds of those present agree to terminate the discussion.
- Close discussion of each topic with plans for future action.
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:
- Giving a presentation at a conference.
- Presenting a proposal to the Associated Students, Inc.
- Representing your group to the University administration.
- Convincing another campus group to join with you in a project.
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.
- Know your audience. Find out what group of people will be in attendance. What are the demographics? What would they most like to know?
- Be clear on the amount of time you will have for the presentation. Find out the type, size and layout of the room. Visit the room if possible.
- Be aware of the time of day the presentation will take place. If you are presenting after a meal you may want to make your presentation interactive or have a dynamic icebreaker.
- Be familiar with your presentation. Use index cards to remind yourself of the main points. Rehearse in front of friends.
- If your presentation is long, decide how you will break it up. A question and answer period, visual aids or a short break are all ways to prevent your audience from becoming bored.
At the Presentation
- Speak clearly and loudly for everyone to hear you. Make eye contact with members of the audience. Pay attention; is your audience bored or confused?
- Use examples that the audience can understand which are relevant to their experience. Use the names of participants. Be brief. Be brief.
- Be brief. Stick to the point!
- Give an organized presentation. At the beginning let the audience know that you will cover and your goals. Alert them to important points by sue of voice inflection or repetition. Summarize at the end.
- Be able to show how the audience can use the information you are giving them.
- Be upbeat and enthusiastic.
- Provide time for the audience to ask questions either at key points during the presentation or at the end. Be honest if you don’t know the answer to a question and offer to help find the answer.
- Forget about being perfect; be yourself and use your own style. Use humor if appropriate.
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.
- Analyze speakers you believe are effective and notice the things they do that you might try.
- Have your presentations videotaped and look for ways to improve.
- Solicit feedback from people in some form of evaluation.
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.
- If they joined out of a need to “belong” somewhere they may be motivated by the opportunity to plan social activities or other high “people contact” projects.
- If they are interested in learning new things then they may be interested in researching a new issue for the group, helping to plan an educational program, or taking on a project that has never been done before.
- Some members are dedicated to the cause of the group. They are ideal for recruitment of new members or other public relations projects.
- If the person is there “just for the fun of it” then have them act as host when guests are present or plan social functions.
- People also join because the group relates to their major or future career. They are motivated by projects that bring them in contact with faculty or with professionals in the general community.
Things You Can Do
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.
- Be polite at all times.
- Don’t play favorites.
- Give members a chance to take part in decisions, particularly those affecting them.
- Treat people as individuals. Refer to people by name.
- Ask people to do useful, challenging work. “Busy Work” soon becomes boring and causes people to lose interest.
- Give weight to the fact that people carry out best their own ideas.
- Utilize special talents of members that may involve experience in their majors or hobbies. This increases commitment to a project.
- Recognize the limits. These might be time constraints, financial limitations, or personal attitudes, Identify the constraints and help people to work them out.
- Give lots of support. Show your members that you have confidence in them and that you expect them to do their best.
- Make use of the work people have done. It’s very discouraging to work hard at something, only to have it ignored.
- Allow people to “goof.” Don’t expect that someone will always be right.
- Have fun. Laugh!! Get together for a social activity.
- Be a good listener.
- Criticize or reprove constructively.
- Criticize or reprove in private.
- Praise in public.
- Delegate responsibility of details to members.
- Make your wishes known by suggestions or request.
- When you make a request or suggestion, be sure to the reason for it.
- Play up the positive.
- Be consistent!
- Ask members for their counsel and help. Allow them to provide you with feedback on your performance.
- When you are wrong or make a mistake, admit it.
- Use every opportunity to build up in members a sense of the importance of their work.
- Give members goals, as sense of direction, something to strive for and to achieve.
- Allow people to do a variety of tasks. Give them the chance to change and to grow as they participate. As a leader, you need to be continually aware of the interest level of your entire group, not just the most active.
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.
Why is This Important?
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:
- Call to order
- Opening Ceremonies (optional)
- Roll call
- Reading and Approval of Minutes
- Reports of Officers, Boards, and Standing Committees
- Reports of Special Committees
- Unfinished business
- New business
Program (if a program or a speaker is planned for the meeting*)
Obtaining and Assigning the Floor
- A member rises when no one else has the floor and addresses the chair: “Mr./Madam President, Mr./Madam Chairman” or by other proper title.
- The chair recognizes the member by announcing his name or title, or in a small assembly, by nodding to him.
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.
- MAIN motion- is the basis of all parliamentary procedure--provides method of bringing business before the assembly for consideration and action. Can only be considered if no other business is pending. For example, “I move that we purchase T-shirts”.
- SUBSIDARY motion - a subsidiary motion changes or has an effect on how the main motion is handled.
- PRIVILEGED motion - a privileged motion is the most urgent. They are about important matters not related to the pending business. For example, “I move that we adjourn the meeting.”
How the Motion is Brought Before the Assembly
- The member makes the motion: “I move that (or ‘to’)...” and resumes his seat.
- Another member, without rising, seconds the motion: “I second the motion” or “I second it” or even “second.”
- The chair states the motion: It is moved and seconded that ... Are you ready for the question?”
Consideration of the Motion
- Members can debate the motion.
- Before speaking in debate, members obtain the floor as stated above.
- The maker of the motion has first right to the floor if he claims it properly.
- All remarks must be addressed to the chair.
- Debate must be confined to the merits of the motion.
- Debate can only be closed by order of the assembly (2/3 vote) or by the chair if no one seeks the floor for further debate.
- The chair puts the motion to a vote.
- The chair asks: “Are you ready for the question?” If no one rises to claim the floor, the chair proceeds to take the vote.
- The chair says: “The question is on the adoption of the motion that... As many as are in favor, say ‘Aye”. (Pause for response.) Those opposed, say ‘No’. (Pause for response.)
- The chair announces the result of the vote.
- “The ayes have it, the motion is adopted, and ... (indicating the effect of the vote)” or
- “The nays have it, and the motion is lost.”
The method of voting usually depends on the situation and on the laws of your particular organization. Typically there are five types of votes.
- By voice - the chairperson asks those in favor to say “aye” and those opposed to say “no”. If it is unclear as to how many said aye and no, a member can move for an exact count.
- Show of hands - members raise their hands either for or against the motion.
- Roll call - if a record of each person’s vote is needed, each member answers “yes”, “no” or “present”
- Ballot - a ballot vote is usually taken when secrecy is desired. Members write their vote on a piece of paper and turn it in for counting.
- General consent - when a motion is not likely to be opposed the chairperson might say “If there is no objection” members show agreement by remaining silent. If someone disagrees they should voice their objection, and then the matter must be put to a vote.
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.
Tips for Success
- Should have at least a 1 month overlap between current officers and future officers. Many organizations may do a whole quarter or more.
- Get your old and new group together! Include your advisor and have a meeting to share what went well and what could be improved upon. A great way to do this is by going on a retreat, but you can do something as basic as a meeting or dinner to talk about the transition.
- Introduce officers to the important people that your group works with as well as their Student Life Advisor.
- Celebrate your year together. Recognize your organization for their work. This will create good feelings
towards your organization and will be a positive message to other students who may be looking to join your organization.
- Introduce new members to your club advisor(s) as well as your Student Life Advisor
- Create a contact list of all new members and advisor(s)
- Remind new officers to renew the organization in the Fall
- Give access and instructions for any email accounts, websites, resource etc. Examples include:
- Club Email
- Social Media Accounts
- Document storage (online or binder of information)
- National Affiliation information
- Give list of equipment that the organization has in Student Life
- Share the Student Club and Organization Handbook with new members and make sure advisor has access to the Advisor Handbook
- Show new officers how to reserve space (you can have them shadow the process)
- Show new officers how to request money (you can have them shadow the process)
- If you are affiliated with a national organization, explain this relationship and any important information associated.
- Finish as many items as possible and then pass any unfinished business to the new officers.
Create a Resource Folder
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:
- Mission, philosophy, goals and/or purpose of the organization
- Organization history and Constitution/By-Laws
- Budgets/Financial reports
- Meeting Agendas and minutes
- Any evaluations of events/programs
- Calendar of events and deadlines
- Committee position descriptions
- Organizational chart for organization
- Election process and timeline
- Membership recruitment information and timeline
- List of members and their contact information (e-mail, phone number).
- List of people expressing an interest but not joining/paying and their contact information
- If your club has dues, include the list of who has paid/not paid
- Membership application, if applicable
- Past Correspondence
- E-mails to the chapter/organization
- E-mails from the advisor with important information
- Special Events
- Event planning guide/checklist for any past events or programs
- Sample posters/flyers from past projects, old press releases, Event Approval process instructions
- Event Planning Guide, Campus events contact list
- Copies of all Chapter/Organization event materials (e.g., invitations, posters, awards,
informativequarter sheets, etc.)
- Student Life and Leadership Programs
- Professional contacts in the area
- Chapter/Organization specific contacts
- Logos (club logos, past events, etc.)
- Any past print publications, press releases
EXAMINE YOUR ORGANIZATION
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.
- What is our group’s purpose?
- What is our group’s future plans?
- What does our group have to off offer to its’ members?
- How many people do we realistically want and/or need to constructively function as an organization
- Why is a diversified membership particularly important to our organization?
DETERMINE A RECRUITMENT PROFILE
Who do you want to attract to your group? Answer the following questions to help your group find and identify
potential new members.
- Is academic level important?
- Is academic major important?
- Are there any particular skills or talents you are looking for in members?
- Are you looking for people with a particular interest or hobby?
- Who are you looking for in order to diversify your membership?
GET THE WORD OUT
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.
- What medium will most likely appeal to your potential new member?
- Is there a certain spot on campus this person is likely to be?
- What resources (people, time, money) does the organization have to give to a publicity campaign?
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.
- Registered Student Organizations
- Campus governing groups
- Academic advisors
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.
- Establish selection criteria. For example, criteria may be “ability to work with others.”
- Have a standard evaluation. Fill out an evaluation for each candidate. Your groups should have written documentation on why you selected certain people over others. Many people dislike the idea of filling out evaluations because they take time and effort, but they are important in a fair selection process.
- The leader of the group should keep evaluation forms in a secure, confidential place for at least one month after the process is over.
- Have a training meeting with all members participating in the selection process. Inform members of the procedures and expectation of the selection process.
- In selecting candidates, decide which qualifications are absolutely necessary for the position and which can be easily acquired through training. Focus on the essential qualifications. If a candidate lacks skills that can easily be learned through training, give the person a chance.
RETAINING YOUR MEMBERS
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.