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Conducting Successful Meetings

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Title: Conducting Successful Meetings


1
Conducting Successful Meetings
Mr Patrick Moriarty Director Training
Development www.ourcommunity.com.au
2

What you will achieve in the workshop
  • Agendas, minutes and meeting papers
  • How to chair a meeting
  • Tips for keeping to time and staying on track
  • How to plan for your Annual General Meeting

3
What are Meetings?
  • A gathering of people
  • an occasion where minutes are kept but hours
    lost
  • A waste of time?

4
  • The key reason we meet is to make decisions….
  • Not to socialise

5
Directors Roles The Chair
The Chair serves as the Boards figurehead and
acts as a link between the Board and the CEO (who
in turn acts as a link to staff and volunteers).
Boards are expected to make collective
decisions, however many community group
constitutions will allow the Chair an additional
casting vote to break a tie, giving him or her
important directional power. Usually, however, a
good Chair will resolve the matter by maintaining
the status quo.
6
Directors Roles The Chair
  • At a minimum the Chair will be responsible for
    managing (chairing) Board meetings directing
    debates, ensuring that discussions do not stray
    too far from the prepared agenda and keeping
    Board members within the meeting rules.
  • The Chair is also responsible for taking a
    leading role in keeping the vision alive, setting
    the organisations course and monitoring its
    direction, and for ensuring that proper
    procedures are in place. Other roles can include
  • Calling special or extraordinary meetings
    when required
  • Overseeing the search for and monitoring of the
    groups CEO
  • Acting as a spokesperson for the organisation to
    the media, to government and to other
    organisations
  • Representing the organisation at official
    functions
  • Mediating disputes between Board members.

7
Duties of the Chair before Meetings
  • Supervise the preparation of the agenda any
    background papers
  • To check all persons entitled to receive
    notification have done so
  • To verify the accuracy of any minutes to be
    presented
  • To become familiar with any correspondence or
    reports

8
Duties of the Chair at Meetings
  • Formally declare the meeting open
  • Preside over control the meeting
  • Conduct it impartially according to the rules
  • Ascertain that a quorum is present at all times

9
During Meetings
  • Present any reports
  • Introduce guest speakers arrange votes of
    thanks for them
  • In the case of elections, ensure the appointment
    of a returning officer
  • Sign documents
  • Protect free speech ensure proper conduct of
    debates
  • Sign that the minutes are correct

10
At Meetings
  • Give rulings on points of order
  • Prevent heckling but be tolerant of reasonable
    interjection
  • Preserve order
  • Prevent discussions getting out of hand
  • Ensure only persons entitled to be present are
    admitted to the meeting
  • Adjourn the meeting declare it closed.

11
The Chair at meetings
  • Must start meetings promptly
  • Follow the agenda
  • Manage the use of time
  • Limit/control discussion
  • Elicit participation
  • Help resolve conflicts
  • Clarify action to be taken
  • Summarise results

12
The Chair after meetings
  • Evaluate effectiveness
  • Send out evaluations
  • Distribute memorandum or minutes
  • Take action agreed to
  • Follow up on action items

13
Challenges/Strategies for Chairing
Running Effective Board Meetings
  • Make sure everyone contributes/no one dominates
  • Disorder Sound signal, times up, Silent signal
  • Difficult participants T , maintain eye
    contact, acknowledge viewpoint invite them to
    call you, ask for others to speak, change format
  • Humour (how well does that work?)
  • Ignore - Do not take personally

14
Preparing Effective Board Meetings
  • Notify and remind members at least a week prior.
  • An agenda for the Meeting needs to be prepared
    and circulated with Meeting Papers, otherwise,
    Members will not be in a position to make an
    informed decision.
  • The Secretary distributes the minutes of the
    previous meeting, and makes sure the meeting
    venue is booked and refreshments are available if
    required. ( WHEN??????)
  • The Treasurer makes sure that financial reports
    are prepared, and supporting information for
    approval of expenditure is in order.

15
The motion has been made and seconded that we
stick our heads in sand
16
The Meeting Papers
  • Make sure meeting papers are sent out at least a
    week before the meeting, accompanied by any
    necessary background papers proposals, budgets,
    etc.
  • Read the papers
  • Insist that the financials are clear and easy to
    read
  • Ask for a written description of finances
    including actions take to cover a deficit
    (existing or projected) bank statement??
  • You need to be fully informed make sure you are
  • Give me the motions we are asked to vote on
  • Make sure you read them ALL and prepare (I want
    to know what it is that I am going to need to
    decide)

17
Perhaps it would help if I go over it one more
time
18
The critical nature of meetings
  • Your Board and Committee meetings are probably
    the most crucial component of governance for your
    organisation.
  • The probability is that if your meetings are not
    successful then your organisation will not be
    either.

19
The Agenda
  • Put any item that calls for energy and fresh
    ideas near the beginning of the agenda.
  • Also put urgent items early on, in case the
    meeting has to break with unfinished business.
  • Can you use Consent Agendas
  • Don't make the agenda too long.
  • Under no circumstances should a meeting run for
    more than two hours. After that time people are
    tired and unproductive.

20
The Agenda
  • Meeting of XYZ Inc
  • To be held on Dec 1 at XYZ Room 7 -8.30 pm
    (dinner will be provided after meeting)
  • Agenda
  • Welcome
  • Apologies
  • Previous Minutes
  • Business Arising from Previous Minutes
  • Essential Business
  • Correspondence (actions Arising from)
  • Reports
  • Next Meeting
  • Close

21
  • How can that agenda be improved?

22
This format may help sec to keep track minutes
23
Consent Agenda
  • One way to streamline meeting procedures is to
    adopt the use of a consent agenda.
  • The consent agenda, also called a consent
    calendar, allows groups to take care of routine
    business items in one action. Those items that
    are standard, noncontroversial, and/or
    self-explanatory can be consolidated and approved
    with one motion and vote.
  • Examples of such items include previous meeting
    and committee meeting minutes, routine
    correspondence, office reports, and confirmation
    of actions required in the constitution.

24
  • Many groups are in the habit of discussing every
    topic on the agenda. Not all items require
    discussion or deliberation.
  • Furthermore, some items may have been discussed
    and explained previously, and additional
    discussion will be repetitive and unnecessary. As
    the name implies, items on the consent agenda
    assume general agreement, or consensus, on the
    approval or vote.

25
  • For a consent agenda or calendar to be useful,
    the agenda and information for each item must be
    distributed to the group members well in advance
    of a meeting. This practice permits thorough
    examination of all agenda items without using
    valuable meeting time.

26
  • The category consent agenda should be listed as
    an item on the meeting agenda, and each item
    covered by this category should be identified
    separately in the document. If a group member has
    a question, it can be directed to the person
    responsible for that item prior to the meeting.
    If the question is not resolved to the members
    satisfaction, the member may request, during the
    meeting, that the item be removed from the
    consent agenda and discussed separately before a
    vote.

27
Legal Responsibilities - Conflict of Interest
  • A conflict of interest is when a person who is
    part of the decision-making process is
    considering an issue in which they or a close
    family member stand to benefit in some way.
  • Conflicts of interest are not a problem in
    themselves or something to feel shame about. The
    problem starts when a conflict of interest is not
    properly dealt with.

28
Legal responsibilities - Conflict of Interest
  • Register of interests
  • Declare interests prior to discussing issues
    (Chair Checklist see handout)
  • Give opinion if asked or required but do not seek
    to unduly influence
  • Excuse yourself from decision-making process or
    implementation
  • Record in meeting minutes

29
To make meetings work
  • Identify meeting purpose and outcome(s)
  • Create, distribute, and stick to an agenda
  • Start/end on time
  • Provide ground rules such as for decision making
  • Describe what members will contribute
  • Keep the meeting focused on goals
  • Solicit, balance, appreciate contributions
  • Summarize, especially action items
  • Appoint a clock watcher

30
  • Everyone who participates in a meeting has a
    responsibility to make it effective
  • Whether you are the chairperson or a
    participant, your behavior helps determine if the
    meeting
  • stays on track
  • achieves its purpose
  • uses time effectively

31
  • There are two major parts to every meeting that
    influence one another
  • Content
  • What the meeting is about
  • Process
  • How the meeting is managed
  • How attendees participate
  • What is achieved
  • Poor meeting management can derail even the most
    interesting content.
  • Poor content can cause loss of interest and
    action by bored participants.

32
Effective Board Meetings
  • Chairing
  • A quorum is required for effective meetings and
    if this is a problem
  • can you hold a meeting without a quorum?
  • make it clear to members that it is part
    of their commitment to turn up. (shame file?)
  • - honestly review the meetings are they
    dynamic and effective? Are they finishing on
    time? Are they being well chaired?

33
Decision making process
Running Effective Board Meetings
  • How does your board make a decision?
  • Consensus
  • Majority
  • Noise
  • Expertise
  • Duress/Time pressure
  • Driven by CEO
  • Avoidance
  • What is the right way?

34
Successful Sub Committees
  • Clear terms of reference
  • Chair should be from board
  • Ensure you have the skills you need
  • Not decision makers but provide board
    recommendations (but this can be delegated if
    so dont continue to revisit or explore decision
    making process)
  • Reports regularly provided back to board (this
    does not mean that it get discussed at board
    could be for information or for action)

35
Common problems
  • Does your list include many of these problems?
  • No clear or shared objectives
  • No agenda or plan
  • Poor preparation on part of participants and
    chair
  • Poor participation on part of participants and
    chair
  • Getting off the subject
  • Interruptions
  • Habitual late starts
  • No record keeping
  • Wrong people present, right people absent
  • Meeting too long
  • Meeting not necessary
  • No clear decision-making method
  • Hidden agendas

36
So what can I do as a mere mortal
  • Use your best smile (even through gritted teeth)
    and assertive skills for
  • Chairs without a plan - offer to develop the
    meeting agenda
  • Chairs who let things get off track - ask how the
    discussion relates to the agenda item at hand
  • Chairs who dont control rambling - gently
    reference agenda time frames
  • Chairs without follow-up plans - offer to take
    action plan details
  • Chairs who run over time - suggest that some
    items be worked on outside of the meeting (Sub
    Committees)

37
How do I do that without being a megalomaniac
  • Offer to develop the agenda Why not let me put
    together an agenda so you can concentrate on
    content?
  • Ask how the discussion relates to the agenda item
    at hand We were talking about ___, Im not sure
    if I see the connection.
  • Reference agenda time frames This is all
    interesting, to stick with our agenda well have
    to wrap up soon.
  • Offer to take short minutes Im taking notes
    anyway, so Id be happy to make them minutes.
  • Suggest that some items be worked on outside of
    the meeting How would everyone feel if we worked
    on team goals in individual groups then came back
    to discuss them next week?

38
Making minutes count…
  • Minutes serve several important functions and are
    worthwhile even for regular staff meetings
  • Record the meeting for participants
  • Record the meeting for others who did not attend
  • Record decisions made
  • Record actions needed
  • Document implementation plans
  • Provide a checklist for follow up
  • Provide a history of the unit or project
  • A GOOD SCORER …..
  • WILL ALWAYS BEAT A GOOD BATSMAN

39
Minutes should include…
  • Meeting date 
  • Meeting time/ location
  • Meeting Purpose
  • List of invited participants/actual attendees
  • List of persons receiving copies of minutes
  • For each agenda item
  • Discussion summary short statement of main
    point
  • Decision(s) made list all decisions
  • Action Item(s) list all with who/what/when
  • Date of next meeting

40
  • You have just been told that you will receive a
    donation of 40,000 from a benefactor. You must
    choose to accept the donation at your next
    meeting that is scheduled in five minutes. You
    MUST decide what to do with the money in the next
    ten minutes you have a choice to
  • appoint a research officer
  • conducting a community education

41
WHY HOLD AN AGM?
  • To ensure your organisation is organised and
    administered effectively
  • To keep members informed of the work of the board
  • To give members a voice in running the
    organisation
  • To enable elections to take place
  • To comply with requirements

42
HOW SHOULD THE AGM BE PUBLICISED?
  • All members should receive adequate written
    notice of the meeting (14 days)
  • All members should receive an agenda and other
    relevant paperwork in advance of the meeting
  • Noticeboards should be used to display inviting
    posters
  • Friends should be urged to speak to members and
    encourage them to attend

43
The business of an AGM is normally to
  • confirm the minutes of the last AGM and of any
    special general meeting held since that meeting,
  • receive from the committee reports on the
    activities of the association during the last
    preceding financial year,
  • elect office-bearers of the association and
    ordinary members of the committee,
  • receive and consider the financial statement to
    members, and
  • conduct other business of which notice has been
    given to the members.

44
What information must be included in the
statement to members?
  • the committee must submit to members a statement
    which is not misleading and which gives a true
    and fair view of the following
  • the income and expenditure of the association
    during its last financial year
  • the assets and liabilities of the association at
    the end of its last financial year
  • the mortgages, charges and other securities
    affecting any of the property of the association
    at the end of its last financial year

45
What else can we do?
  • Provide refreshments before the meeting and/or a
    social afterwards
  • Invite a speaker on a topic of interest
  • Build agendas around members concerns and
    interests
  • Ensure full disabled access to the meeting,
    including provision of signing, hearing induction
    loops etc if needed.
  • Hold the meeting in pleasant surroundings
  • Ensure the venue is easily accessible by public
    transport and let people know where car parking
    is available. Include a map with the paperwork
    sent to members

46
  • Ensure the venue is not off putting to any groups
    of members, for example some members may not feel
    comfortable meeting in a pub or in a smoky
    atmosphere.
  • Find out what time and venue is most convenient
    for members.
  • Make arrangements for members with caring
    commitments (e.g. childcare)
  • Coordinate transport if a group of people are
    travelling from a similar location

47
  • Review your own effectiveness
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