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10 Steps to Successful Chapter Meetings

10 Steps to Successful Chapter Meetings

Do you put the same effort into your running your chapter and board meetings that you do with your education and advocacy events? If you don’t, you’re not alone. Many regular meetings are managed and implemented by one person or a small group, to the best of their ability and in the time they have available.

A successful meeting requires preparation and planning – before, during and after – to fully engage attendees and deliver its intended message. Keep these 10 steps in mind when you plan your next meeting and see how having a documented process can strengthen all your meetings. 

Preparation

  1.       Planning:  Bring together a group to manage the meeting, rather than relying on one or two people to carry the burden. Clarify roles, to avoid duplicating efforts and creating difficult environments. Ensure everyone agrees on the purpose and the topic before they move forward. Think about all that needs to be accomplished and make a list that includes who is responsible for each task, from finding the right space and determining the room set up, to creating the presentation and deciding on refreshments.
  2.       Create the Meeting:  Promote your meeting well in advance by updating the website with the date, so members and guests get it on their radar.
  3.       Send Communications:  Everyone retains information differently. Announcing an upcoming meeting during a meeting isn’t enough; neither is a single announcement. Use multiple channels, like email and your website, along with announcements.
  4.       Manage Registrations. Make registering easy. Most members and guests want to register online. Consider letting people register for themselves and others at the same time. And, don’t forget to send reminders containing all the essential details, like date, location, link to directions, topics, etc., so they don’t have to search your website. ProTip: use one of StarChapter’s prepopulated email templates, so that all of this information is readily available for you.
  5.       Print materials:  Don’t wait till the last minute, only to find out you’ve run out of ink or paper. Consider sending the materials to a printer, to ensure that what you hand out is easy to read and the level of quality that matches your organization.

At the meeting

  1.       Meeting prep & attendee check in:  Have an organized process for checking in members and guests. Print name tags ahead of time and have blank tags available for last minute attendees. Take payments via cash, check, and credit card. Be sure the committee -- wearing name tags that show them as volunteers -- is there enough in advance to set up the room, put out materials, and check that the AV equipment, including the Internet, is working appropriately.

After the meeting

  1.       Share meeting materials:  Send out what you distributed, even if you think everyone has it. They won’t. Consider repurposing the materials and sending them out later as blogs, eBooks, or other types of content. You could also provide them, free or for a small fee, to those who didn’t attend, to show the value of your organization and what attendees from your events.
  2.       Manage payments:  Reconcile the payments you received and send invoices to those who didn’t pay or who RSVP’d and didn’t show, if you charge for no-shows.
  3.       Run a meeting report:  Create a list of everyone who attended, to begin your membership outreach with guests. Consider connecting with those who registered but didn’t attend, by sending a “we missed you” message.
  4.   Survey attendees: Surveys help determine the success of a meeting and give you the direction to improve future meetings. Wait till after attendees have left the meeting, however, to send the survey. This gives them a chance to digest what they heard and better consider whether the meeting met their needs.

“When it comes to holding a successful meeting, it’s important to be consistent every step of the way. From pre-planning strategizing to post-event reporting, you have to have a clear vision and plan to be able to judge what ‘success’ really is. Even beyond the members and the budget, take every program as a lesson of what works for your membership and what doesn’t, so you can improve every time.” – Francesca Radabaugh, Director of Association Management & Operations, Paragon Events, Inc.

When a meeting process is documented, it’s easily repeatable, which saves time and decreases some of the stress that comes with running meetings. Armed with a process, you can adjust as needed and future meetings will run more smoothly. Share your successes. Access and recap your meeting right after while it’s at the top of your team’s minds. This will ultimately allow everyone who supported to understand what can be done to enhance a future meeting!



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