Running a meeting can sound extremely daunting to many of you who have never done so before. And to be quite honest, it is pretty nerve-wracking the first time around. However, once you become comfortable with your leadership style and after running a few meetings, it’ll be a piece of cake! I will also briefly touch upon 5 key strategies that I have found to be useful while running my RUPA (Rutgers University Programming Association) committee meetings.
Last year on RUPA, I was an Assistant Director in the Comedy and Media committee. My Director ran these meetings every week and I was able to see her leadership style and the way she went about running these meetings. There were many things she did that I admired and there were also some things I took note of that I would do differently if I ever became a Director…
Fast forward to today where I am currently in the role of Director in the Comedy and Media committee. Now I am in charge of running my own meetings with my committee. Although I have been in meetings before, it is so different actually running them yourself – I never realized how hard it could be your first time doing it!
But don’t fret; I will give you 5 easy tools that anyone can use during a meeting:
1. Start off with an icebreaker to set the tone.
You don’t want to have a boring meeting! Usually we just go around and say our highs/lows of the week. This is a great way to get people talking and get more excited to start the meeting.
2. Stay organized with an agenda.
I type up an agenda before each meeting every week with various topics I want to cover during the meeting. It is my checklist that we can all refer to throughout the entire time. It is fine to have side conversations, but it is great to always revert back to the important items listed on the agenda. Also, it allows my committee members to be more engaged by taking their own notes on the agenda and it allows them to know exactly what we will be covering; there are no surprises.
3. Make it a discussion – allow your members to add their opinions and report back to the group
It is important to let my committee members be involved in the discussion, rather than just me doing all the talking – something I had difficulties with in the beginning. Once I became better at delegating certain tasks and allowing my Assistant Directors to take on more responsibilities with their own events, it became easier for them to join in during the meetings. They can now report back to everyone and we can all ask them questions. This has become more of a conversation rather than just me doing all of the talking. Everyone in the committee is a valuable team member, not just the leader!
4. Be open for questions
There are no stupid questions! I make sure I let my committee members know that if they have any questions to ask me. Sometimes I mistakenly assume that they may know something that they actually are not familiar with, so I really encourage them to ask me questions whenever they are confused or need more clarification.
5. Have a note taker
Although everyone gets their own agenda to look at and take notes during the meeting, we also have a designated note taker. We switch off each week to take notes, which then gets emailed to everyone. This way, everyone has the same set of notes that they can look at.
It definitely takes some practice to run a successful meeting, however I hope that these simple tools can guide you in the right direction.