Meeting Planning and Design
- Define the purpose and desirable outcomes of the meeting.
- Determine who should attend the meeting. If needed, gather information about who will attend, their expectations, and their needs. Involve participants in planning in some way.
- Build an agenda in advance. Prioritize agenda items. Send the agenda to participants well in advance of the meeting. Make a realistic estimate of the time required for each agenda item.
- Notify meeting participants of the time, place, length, and plans for the meeting. Consider varying meeting place and time. Solicit participant suggestions regarding meeting arrangements.
- Send any needed written materials prior to the meeting.
- If a meeting is scheduled but not needed, either cancel the meeting or conduct necessary business by telephone, mail, executive committee, etc.
- Make plans to accommodate more, or fewer people than expected.
- Prepare and check equipment and visual aids.
- Brief speakers and resource people about purpose, arrangements, roles, expectations.
BEGINNING THE MEETING
- Arrive early and set up or make sure the room is set up properly.
- Plan activities for early arrivers: Conservation, coffee, filing out information sheet, viewing resource table, etc.
- Start on time.
- Make introductions (if necessary) and state expectations for the meeting.
- Define roles (if necessary), e.g., leader, facilitator, recorder, internal critic, etc.
- Ensure that a recorder is appointed to document plans, decisions, tasks, etc. (if needed).
- Review, revise, and order the agenda according to the rules for setting an agenda.
- Set clear time limits for activities.
- Review previous meeting's actions.
CONDUCTING THE MEETING
- Facilitate the meeting according to the agenda, attending to times allotted, maintaining focus on one issue at a time, utilizing appropriate processes.
- Chair and members utilize different structures and processes appropriate for handling the task at hand (e.g., problem-solving, planning, facilitating action, evaluating and reviewing action, etc.).
- Leader and members serve the group by focusing on the task at hand, and they facilitate work by sharing the task and process roles.
CLOSING THE MEETING
- Review accomplishments of the meeting (in relation to the purpose and agenda).
- Establish action items. What will be done, by whom, when?
- Set the date and place of the next meeting (if necessary) and develop a preliminary agenda.
- Evaluate the meeting.
- Close the meeting positively.
- End on time.
- Clean and rearrange the room.
FOLLOWING THE MEETING
- Prepare the group memorandum or meeting minutes.
- Follow up on action items and begin to plan the next meeting.