Making Meetings More Productive

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Title:
Making Meetings More Productive
Physical Description:
Fact sheet
Creator:
Beaulieu, Lionel J.
Publisher:
University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

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Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status:
Published
General Note:
"June 1992."
General Note:
"CD30"

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Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the submitter.
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IR00004599:00001


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CD30 June1992MakingMeetingsMoreProductive1 AdaptedbyLionelJ.Beaulieu2Mostindividualshavebeeninvolvedinmeetings thatcanbedescribedsimplyas"ineffective"ora "wasteoftime."Thefactofthematteristhatgood meetingsjustdon'thappen.Theyrequireplanningat severalstages--before,during,andafterthemeeting. Thereareanumberofitemswhichcontributesto unsuccessfulmeetings.Theseinclude: Planningwithoutsounddata Participantsnotinvolved Poorvisualaids Noreasonformeeting Equipmentthatdoesn'twork Noplansforaccommodatingpeople Unbriefedresourceperson Noagenda Toomuchtodointoolittletime Onecopyoftheagenda Non-participatoryseating Long-windedspeakers Extralongrefreshmentbreaks Failuretodealwiththefeelingsofparticipants Nominutesofpastmeeting 1.ThisdocumentisCD30,FloridaCooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida.Publication date:June1992. 2.LionelJ.Beaulieu,professor,extensionandruralsociology,CooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences, UniversityofFlorida,GainesvilleFL32611. TheInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesisanequalopportunity/affirmativeactionemployerauthorizedtoprovideresearch,educational informationandotherservicesonlytoindividualsandinstitutionsthatfunctionwithoutregardtorace,color,sex,age,handicap,ornational origin.Forinformationonobtainingotherextensionpublications,contactyourcountyCooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. FloridaCooperativeExtensionService/InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences/UniversityofFlorida/ChristineTaylorStephens,Dean

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MakingMeetingsMoreProductive Page2 Failuretoprovideagoalforthegroup'sactivities Whileitisnotpossibletoaddresseachandevery oneoftheseitemsatthispoint,approachesfor dealingwithsomeofthemoreserious"meetingtraps" arediscussedinthisdocument.ACHECKLISTFORPLANNINGMEETINGSInordertoenhancethelikelihoodofasmooth meeting,thereareanumberofspecificactivitiesthat needtobeconsidered.Thechecklistofitems(Table 1)issubsumedunderninemajorphases,withthe phasesbeingsequentiallyorderedintermsofwhen theyshouldbecarriedout.PREPARINGTHEAGENDA1Theagendacomesfromareviewof correspondence,frompastminutes,andfrom committeeassignmentsandgoals,anditincludes considerationoffutureeventsonthecalendar.Itis importantthatthechairpersonorsecretarycheckwith peoplewhoaretogivereportstobesurethatthey areready.Thisshouldbedonepriortotheir placementontheagenda.(Meetingslosemomentum inahurrywhenclutteredwithseveral"noreports"or shoddyreporting.)Someorganizationsreviewthe agendainexecutivecommitteesessionsjustbefore themeetingtomakesureitiscompleteand everybodyisready.Theofficersshouldallgettothe meetingearlytovisitwithmembersastheyarriveand tohelpgetthemeetingroomcompletelysetupand checkedout. Foranycommitteemeeting,theagendashouldbe informationalandthought-provoking,notjustalistof topics.Table2offersanexampleofhowonemight prepareforanagenda.Remember,itshouldbe mailedtothecommitteemembersinadvanceand alsomadeavailabletoeveryoneatthedoor. Pleaserememberthatitisofutmostimportance thateverycommitteemeeting beginontime and end ontime.Insodoing,committeememberswilllearn fromexperiencethatcommitteemeetingsalwaysget startedandendatthestatedtime.PARLIAMENTARYPROCEDURES2Giventhenatureofmanycommittees,itisusually notnecessarytostrictlyrelyonparliamentary procedurestocarryoutagendaactivities.Thedegree offormalityisdependentuponthebestthinkingof committeeofficers.Itisgenerallyagreed,however, themeetingscanbeproductiveandworthwhileif: 1.Thereisarelaxedandsupportiveatmosphere. 2.Thechairpersonisafacilitatorandnotadictator. 3.Membersunderstandthedecisionscanbestbe reachedafterdiscussionratherthanbefore discussion. 4.Attentionisfocusedonthejobtobe accomplishedratherthanontheformalrulesof procedure. Forthosetimes,however,whenformalrulesof procedurewouldbebeneficial,guidelinesforproper parliamentaryproceduresareprovidedinTable3.MINUTESOFTHEMEETING3Oneofthemostimportantadministrativetasksof thecommitteeisthatofkeepingofficialrecordsof thegroup'sbusiness,thatis,writingconcise,readable andaccurateminutesofeachmeeting.Therearea numberofimportantreasonsforhavingminutesof yourcommitteemeetings: 1.Theyaretheofficialrecordofthecommittee's activities. 2.Theyinformmemberswhocouldnotattend aboutwhathappened. 3.Theyhelpinfollowinguponassignmentsand decisions. 4.Theyhelpinformulatingtheagendaforthenext meeting. 5.Theygivecontinuitytotheactivitiesofthe committee. 6.Theyareavaluablereviewoftheactivitiesofthe pastandaidinreportwritingandformulating futureactivitiesandprograms. 7.Theylendcredibilityandaccountabilitytothe activitiesundertakenbyyourcommittee. Thereareanumberofimportantitemstobe consideredinwritingtheminutesofacommittee meeting.Thefollowinglistoutlinesimportant componentsofminute-keeping:

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MakingMeetingsMoreProductive Page31.Indicatewhetherthemeetingisaregular meetingoraspeciallycalledmeeting(ifthe latter,statethereasonforthemeeting). 2.Givethenameoftheorganizationandthe time,dateandplaceofthemeeting. 3.Statethenameandpositionoftheperson presidingovertheCommittee. 4.Notethestatusoftheminutesofthelast meeting.Theymaybereadandaccepted,read andcorrected,readandamendedorthe readingoftheminutescanbedispensedwith. 5.Listingthenamesofthepresentand/orabsent membersisanoptionalprocedure.Minutesare notintendedtokeepupwithabsenteeismsbut toprovideadocumentoftheCommittee's activities.Oftenthereisarollcallbeforethe minutesofthelastmeetingareread. 6.Givethenamesandaffiliationsofguests. 7.RecordtheTreasurer'sreport(when applicable). 8.Separatediscussionsintothecategoriesofold businessandnewbusiness.Oldbusinessrefers tomatterspreviouslybroughttothe Committee'sattention.Newbusinessis businessthathasnotbeenbroughtbeforethe Committeepreviously.Beitoldornew business,ifitisacommitteereport,awritten copyofthatreportshouldbepresentedtothe secretaryandincludedwiththeminutesofthe meeting. 9.Stateallmainmotions,indicatingwhetherthey areadoptedorrejected,andrecordsuggestions thatdonotbecomemainmotions.A withdrawnmotiondoesnothavetobe recorded,butthesubjectofthismotionmight beimportanteithernoworlater. 10.Givethenamesofpeoplemakingmotionsor suggestions.Thenameofapersonwho secondsamotionshouldberecordedto indicateparticipation. 11.Summarizethedebatesupportiveofthemotion (pro)andagainstit(con),beingsurebothsides receiveequalattention.Itissufficienttojust statewhospokeforeachsideoftheissue. 12.Statethevotebywhichthemotionwaspassed ordefeatedandnoteabstentions. 13.Ifadhoccommitteesarecreated,besureto indicatewhoisbeingappointedtoitandwhat thespecificpurposeofthecommitteeis.If known,specifywhatdatetheirreportisdue. 14.Stateanyannouncementsmade. 15.Indicatetimeofadjournment. 16.Thepersontakingtheminutessignsthem.SUMMARYInthisbriefpaper,wehaveattemptedtoreview someitemsthatmightservetoenhancethe effectivenessofcommitteemeetings.Forone,we outlinedaseriesofactivitiestobeundertakenprior to,duringandafterscheduledcommitteemeetings. Next,wehighlightedcertaincomponentsof committeemeetings,namely,preparationofthe agendaandqualitydocumentationofthemeeting's businessactivities(e.g.,minutes).Finally,we providedguidelinesonproperparliamentary procedureforthoseinstanceswhereformalrulesof ordermightproveusefulandproductive.FOOTNOTES1.Basedon: LeadershipIsEverybody'sBusiness,by JohnD.Lawson,LeslieL.GriffinandFranklin D.Donaut.SanLuisObispo,California:Impact Publishers.1977. 2.Basedon: Committees:AKeytoGroup Leadership,bySheldonG.Lowry,NorthCentral RegionalExtensionPublicationNo.18.June 1980;and LeadershipIsEverybody'sBusiness (see earliercitationforauthorsandpublisher). 3.Basedon: LeadershipIsEverybody'sBusiness (authorsandpublishercitedearlier);and Better Meetings,byCarolS.Hoge,Atlanta,GA. HumanicsPress,1975.

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MakingMeetingsMoreProductive Page4Table1. ChecklistforPlanningMeetings PersonResponsible ByWhen? Done 1.PUBLICITY/PROMOTION/NOTIFYING Notices-towhom? Directionstomeetingplace Phonecalls Contactwiththemedia Personalcontacts Other: 2.AGENDAANDRESOURCEMATERIALS Copiesofagenda Contactpeopleontheagenda Materialsneeded(e.g.,reprints) Previousminutes Committeereports Previousagreementandtimecommitment 3.RESPONSIBILITIESBEFORETHEMEETING Leadershipassignments Resourcepersons? Observers Makingreports Tryingoutequipment Previewfilmsfortimingandcontent 4.SPACECHECKOUT Sizeandshapeofspace Electricaloutlets Bathrooms Stairs Elevators Heat/Coldregulation Ventilation Parkingfacilities(numberandeaseofaccess) Roomarrangements Accesstomeetingroom(s) Lighting

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MakingMeetingsMoreProductive Page5Table1. ChecklistforPlanningMeetings PersonResponsible ByWhen? Done Other: 5.EQUIPMENTFORMEETING Table(number,size,shape) Chairs(comfort,number) Microphones Extensioncords Overheadprojector Newsprinteasel(chartstand) Filmprojector Chalkboard,chalk,eraser Wastebaskets Bulletinboards Slideprojector Screen Recordplayer VCR/Television Coffee,teadispensers Waterpitchers Cups Camera Film Other: 6.MATERIALSANDSUPPLIESFORTHEMEETING Pencils Visualaids Directionalsigns(tomeeting) Other: 7.JUSTBEFORETHEMEETING Seatingarrangements(generalsessionandsubgroupings) Extrachairs Extratables P.A.systemcheckout Equipment(easels,screens,etc.)

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MakingMeetingsMoreProductive Page6Table1. ChecklistforPlanningMeetings PersonResponsible ByWhen? Done Materials(paper,pens,etc.) Ashtrays(ifsmokingisallowed) Water,glasses Thermostat Openingandclosingwindows Refreshmentset-up Checkthatcharts,boards,screenscanbeseenfrom everywhere Agendasavailable Othermaterialsavailableforhandouts Nametags Audio-visualequipmentready Other: 8.ATTHEMEETING Meeting,greeting,seatingofparticipantsandguests Documentation-recording Greetingoflatecomers Evaluationactivity Handingoutofmaterials Operationofequipment Announcements Other: 9.ENDOFMEETING-ANDAFTER Collectunusedmaterials Returnequipment Cleanup Thankhelpers Assesstrengths/weaknessesofthemeeting Mailfollow-upmaterials Remindpeopleoftheirfollow-upcommitment Layplansfornextmeetingdates Other:

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MakingMeetingsMoreProductive Page7Table2. ExampleAgenda. SunshineCountyCommunityResourceDevelopmentCommittee, May20th--7:00p.m.,Room212,SunshineCountyGovernmentBuilding 1. Welcome 2. MinutesApproval:MeetingofMarch18th(senttocommitteemembersonApril15th) 3. AgendaApproval:(distributedMay11th) 4. OldBusiness: a) Possibleestablishmentofahealthawarenessprograminsouthernportionofthecounty(seeminutesofthe March18thmeeting,page2). b) Possibledevelopmentofagrantproposaltoseekfundsforestablishinganon-the-jobtrainingprogramin SunshineCounty(seeminutesoftheMarch18thmeeting,page4). 5. NewBusiness: a) CommitteeReports 1. GrowthManagementSubcommittee Examinamtionofpopulationgrowthofthecountysince1990. Proposaltostudytheanticipateddemandsonpublicservicesresultingfrompopulationgrowth. 2. WaterResourcesCommittee Discussionofwaterqualitytestsconductedonthecounty'swatersupply. b) DiscussionItems 1. VandalismActsByRuralYouth DiscussionoftheextentoftheprobleminSunshineCounty. PossibleresponsebytheCommunityResourceDevelopmentprogramtotheproblem. 6) Announcements: a) SunshineCountyCooperativeExtensionServiceOpenHouse-June8th b) Nextmeeting:July15that7:00p.m. c) ReminderofcommitteereportsdueatJuly15thmeeting. d) Others,ifany(fromthecommitteemembers) 7. Adjournment.

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MakingMeetingsMoreProductive Page8 Table3. AGuidelineforProperParliamentaryProcedure Youwantto: Yousay: Mayyouinterrupt Speakertomakethis motion? Isasecond necessary? Isthemotiondebatable? Canthismotionbe amended? Isvoterequired?What percentrequired? Themotionsorpointlistedbelow,1through9,areinorderofprecedence.Inotherwords:(a)whenanyoneofthemispending,youcannotintroduceonethatislistedBELOWit,(b)you canintroduceonethatislistedABOVEit. 1. Adjourn Imoveweadjourn Nointerruptionallowed Asecondisnecessary Notdebatable Notamendable Majorityvoterequired 2. Recess Imovewerecess until... NointerruptionallowedAsecondisnecessaryNotdebatable--Majorityvoterequired 3. Registeracomplaint Pointofprivilege,Mr. Chairman Yes,youmayinterrupt Nosecondnecessary Notdebatable(any resultingmotionis debatable) Notamendable Novoterequired(Chair decides) 4. Suspendfurther considerationofamatter (ToTable) Imovewetablethis matter NointerruptionallowedAsecondisnecessaryNotdebatableNotamendable Majorityvoterequired 5. Endfurtherdiscussionor debatingofamatter Imovetheprevious question Nointerruptionallowed Asecondisnecessary Notdebatable Notamendable Two-thirdsvoterequired 6. Postponeconsideration ofamatter Imovewepostpone thismatteruntil... NointerruptionallowedAsecondisnecessaryDebatableAmendable Majorityvoterequired 7. Havefurtherstudyona matter Imovewereferthis mattertoacommittee Nointerruptionallowed Asecondisnecessary Debatable Amendable Majorityvoterequired 8. Amendamotion Imovethismotionbe amendedtoread... NointerruptionallowedAsecondisnecessaryDebatableAmendable Majorityvoterequired 9. Introduceamatterof business(Aprimary motion) Imovethat... Nointerruptionallowed Asecondisnecessary Debatable Amendable Majorityvoterequired These,AthroughG,aregeneralpoints,proposalsandmotionsandhavenoorderofprocedureoveroneanother.Youmayintroduceanyoneofthematanytime,except:(a)when motiontoadjournispending,(b)whenmotiontorecessispending,(c)pointofprivilegeispending. A. Objecttoerrorin procedureortoapersonal affront Pointoforder Yes,youmayinterrupt Nosecondnecessary Notdebatable Notamendable Novoterequired(Chair decides) B. Requestforinformation PointofinformationIfurgentandtothe point NosecondnecessaryNotdebatableNotamendable Novoterequired C. Verifyvoicecountby takingactualcount Icallforadivisionof thehouse Nointerruptionallowed butdivisionmustbe calledbyChairman beforeanewmotion canbemade Nosecondnecessary Notdebatable Notamendable Novoterequiredunless someoneobjectsthen majorityrequired D. Objecttoconsideration ofamatteryouconsiderto beimproperorundiplomatic Iojecttoconsideration ofthisquestion MayinterruptspeakerNosecondnecessaryNotdebatableNotamendable Two-thirdsvoterequired againstconsideration

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MakingMeetingsMoreProductive Page9 Table3. AGuidelineforProperParliamentaryProcedure Youwantto: Yousay: Mayyouinterrupt Speakertomakethis motion? Isasecond necessary? Isthemotiondebatable? Canthismotionbe amended? Isvoterequired?What percentrequired? E. Takeupamatterwhich hasbeenpreviouslytabled Imovewetakefrom thetable Nointerruptionallowed Asecondisnecessary Notdebatable Notamendable Majorityvoterequired F. Considersomethingout ofitsscheduledorder Imovesuspendthe rulesandconsider... NointerruptionallowedAsecondisnecessaryNotdebatableNotamendable Two-thirdsvoterequired G. Voteonrulingofthe chair Iappealthechair's decision Asecondisnecessary Debatableiforiginal motionwasdebatable Notamendable Majorityvoterequired