Today's post is part of my blog series of sharing chapter four of my book, A Day of Hope: Leading Volunteers to Make a Difference in Your Community. I hope you find reading the book over the next couple weeks to be enjoyable and beneficial to you as a leader.
This is part one of two about how to run a meeting. This is the process I have used for years to run meetings.
HOW TO RUN A MEETING
One of the main ways that we accomplish a large amount of work for A Day of Hope is through meetings. I feel that one of my strengths is thinking through and preparing an agenda for a meeting. Give me an agenda, pad of paper, pen, and a group of people and we’ll get a lot done. We are able to accomplish a lot because I always prepare well for meetings.
Once you’ve got your leadership team put together one of your first steps will be to meet with them to plan A Day of Hope. There are many elements involved, and they often require planning meetings. To be effective in running A Day of Hope you need to be able to effectively run a meeting.
With A Day of Hope we often meet anywhere from every week to once a month depending on the time of year and amount of volunteers involved. As we come closer to Thanksgiving, we usually meet more. But in January, February, and March we are lucky to meet once a month, if that often.
Before of our meetings I always do my homework and prepare well. Several years ago I read about a type of meeting agenda in a book entitled, Leadership Gold: Lessons I’ve Learned from a Lifetime of Leading[i] by John Maxwell.
I organize my agenda into three sections: info items, study items, and action items. Let me give you more detail on each of these:
- Info Items – These are informational updates on what is going on and what I am doing. It includes items such as who made a big donation, how much money we’ve raised so far, and how many families we’ve registered for food.
- Study Items – These are items we need to dedicate a significant amount of time to discussing and working on. We only talk about study items; no decisions are allowed to be made on a study item. When we need to talk about how we should register families for food, what times we should have our Charity Food Bag Drop, or if we want to do another card tournament as a fundraiser, these would normally be study items.
- Actions Items – These are topics where we needed to make a decision during the meeting. Often this topic has spent a meeting or two in the study items section. Once an item makes it to the action items section, we are ready to pull the trigger and make a decision. These are items like how many families we want to feed for the year, what fundraiser we are going to commit to doing, etc.