Membership Satisfaction Guide: Step 2 – I. Addressing Unproductive Meetings
I. Addressing Unproductive Meetings
Your members need to feel club meetings are a good use of their time. No one likes to feel their time has been wasted.
The most commonly cited responses regarding unproductive meetings were:
- Meetings were unproductive
- Meetings were not enjoyable
- Lions clubs are too hierarchical and formal
- I did not enjoy the Lions customs
How do you improve your meetings? By planning your meetings so members know what to expect.
First, consider if your club even needs to have a meeting
- What does your club need to do? Just distribute information or discuss what you are sending out? Is the instant feedback from a meeting necessary or desirable for this topic, or would it be better if your members had time to think about it? Do your members need the information right now or can it wait?
- Consider using cyber meetings, email or other tools to communicate with your members quickly and without the formality of a meeting.
Before the meeting:
There are 5 questions you need to know the answers to when planning a meeting:
- Why are we meeting?
Is the purpose of the meeting to conduct club business or for social or public relations reasons?
- Only include business that is necessary – do not have reports from inactive committees or report information that is not relevant to the meeting topic.
- Adjust the style of the meeting to your members. Do they prefer formal presentations or active discussions?
- How long will the meeting last?
Do your members enjoy the Lions customs and traditions? Are there some they might prefer to eliminate? Could the time be more productively used to address club business?
- Set a realistic time schedule for the meeting, but remember to leave a little time in the agenda to address unanticipated issues.
- When are we meeting?
A different time or day might increase attendance.
- Where are we meeting?
Consider a new place for your meetings. A different space could bring a new perspective. Even arranging the room differently can have an effect.
- What do we want to accomplish by the end of the meeting?
Distribute an agenda and supporting materials (such as financial reports or last meeting minutes) to let your members know what will be covered prior to the meeting. Include an item for members to bring up any ideas or concerns that have arisen since the last meeting. Be flexible in order to allow your members’ thoughts and opinions to be heard.
With the answers to these questions, you can organize a productive meeting, develop your agenda and prepare any materials you need. The Lions Learning Center offers a course titled Managing Meetings to teach you meeting management strategies, effective meeting preparation and meeting facilitation.
The next step is to inform your members about the meeting:
- Send invitations/reminders through email and/or your usual club communications. Be sure to include the agenda and any supporting materials so your members can review them before the actual meeting.
- If your club has ground rules for conducting meetings, be sure these are available on the club website and distributed to your members. You might even reference them by stating “discussion as permitted by club rules” by specific agenda items.
Other thoughts for planning a meeting:
- Is a meal necessary? Will light refreshments or beverages be sufficient? Can your members bring their own meal if they prefer?
- Does your club want to have a program at every meeting?
Once the meeting begins:
- Keep to the schedule and end on time! Your members’ time is valuable to them so respect it.
- Follow the agenda. That is what your members have planned for and are expecting.
- Follow the club’s rules for meetings.
- Present top-level information. You have already given your members the details with the agenda and supporting materials so those who want details have them.
- Note the time, place and purpose of upcoming meeting(s).
After the meeting and between meetings:
- Use technology to communicate – your club’s website, blog, email and social media all quickly and efficiently deliver information to your members. Communicate with your members consistently and always follow-up as promised. Use the Lions Online publication for ideas.
There are 5 questions you need to know the answers to when planning a meeting.
Would your club prefer to have programs as events separate from business meetings?
- Consider presenting appropriate programs to the community for public relations purposes and/or to showcase the club to new potential members.
- Programs related to your club’s service goals could be presented as a community educational event. Your club could invite people who receive the service or who provide related services.
- Sponsor a networking event. Your club organizes a space, promotes the event and invites local business owners and professionals to meet and exchange information.
- Think about having a social meeting in a public place. This can be fun for your members and good public relations for your club at the same time. Maybe a park, zoo or bowling alley? If your club sponsors, or is connected with, a particular venue that would be a logical choice.
- Once in a while, replace a scheduled meeting with a public relations event in the community. Design your event to appeal to your target members.
- Look at the LCI website, LION Magazine and other Lions publications for ideas that have beensuccessful for other Lions clubs.