How-To Conquer Meetings

Having a party and only one person shows up. Stickers as price tags on glassware. Nicholas Cage’s acting. What do they all have in common with boring meetings? They are THE WORST.

I have been in the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) for two years now and I have experienced meetings from both perspectives. For my first year, I was an assistant director in a committee getting updates from our director about various events and the organization itself. Currently, I am now a director of a committee giving those updates. When I first got the job, I underestimated how hard it is to actually run a meeting. If you ever wanted to know what awkwardness feels like, I suggest building a time machine and going back to that day. However, fear not reader, for I have learned and will show you the ways to lead a stellar meeting!

In preparing for a meeting, always create an agenda. The agenda is like a compass as it sets the direction of the meeting. Without it, the meeting becomes a free-for-all. It states what will be focused on and what everyone should be thinking about while being conscious of time.

When starting the meeting, open with some sort of icebreaker. It can be as simple as asking everyone’s highs and lows of the week. It’s important to make everyone feel included and nine times out of ten, someone will share a story that will get everyone laughing. Icebreakers can also be fun and get the creative juices flowing. One I personally like is making everyone spell out C-R-E-A-T-E and see how many sentences they can make by using each letter. (Ex: Chefs recommend eating apple turnovers everyday.)

Once the meeting is underway, make sure someone is taking notes. (We’ll come back to this later…) Start making your way through the agenda and have the mentality of allowing an open floor discussion. Don’t control the meeting; guide it. Allow for people to voice their opinions, questions, and concerns so they can be addressed. After the meeting, collect the notes that way you can send out Meeting Minutes. These will help serve as a reminder later in the week of what was discussed and you can add what to prepare for the next meeting.

Finally, always be conscious to give out recognition and reward those who are doing a good job. Making your peers feel good by showing your appreciation of them will do nothing but make the environment better and more enjoyable. Now go out there and run a great meeting!

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