How did your last meeting go?
1. Was it productive and on point?
2. Or was it bogged down with side conversations, dominating personalities, arguing, people arriving late or leaving early, lack of respect, and off topic discussion?
Unless your organization is highly unusual, or you have been making a concerted effort in the area of productive meetings, I would guess that your meetings are more like the latter. Meetings are a necessary evil in the everyday workings of any organization. Everyone’s time is very valuable and meetings need to be run efficiently and respectfully. But, how do you make this happen without being the bad “guy”, the meeting czar?
Your team needs to agree on and adopt a set of meeting rules that work for your organization. If the team has buy-in to these rules, then you can always point to the rules (that may have even been posted in your meeting room) when things start to go awry and pull the meeting back on track. Over time, it will become natural to observe and play by these rules. You will then have more productive and less time consuming meetings, and as a result, a more organized, productive, and action oriented organization.
Below, are a set of rules that you may choose to adopt, or pick and choose what will work for you and your organization. Good luck and may all your future meetings be productive, respectful, on point, and on schedule.
15 Rules for the Nonprofit Boardroom (or for any meeting)
1. In this room, at this time, we are all equal. Each of us – regardless of position – will participate.
2. Each of us will behave according to the organization’s values.
3. Each of us is mindful of confidentiality and conflict of interest.
4. We are committed to group process, respect and candor.
5. We will tap into the wisdom of the group, not focus on the opinions of individuals.
6. We will question our own assumptions and those of our colleagues in order to think creatively. We will not get stuck on ‘what we’ve always done’ and ‘what we do today.’
7. We will listen to each other and suspend judgments.
8. Our conversation is not about convincing each other but rather about listening to everything and everyone and then deciding what it all means.
9. Each of us will be heard, but that doesn’t mean each of us will get what we want.
10. No single person(s) shall dominate.
11. It’s OK to disagree. When issues are important and people care, they argue. But once we decide, that’s it. Once decisions are made, each of us owns and supports the decisions.
12. Each of us will accept responsibility for speaking out. Silence is consent.
13. We agree to focus on the meeting agenda and work hard to keep on track.
14. We will not start over or repeat if someone is late, leaves early or is unable to attend.
15. We recognize that the job of a facilitator is hard.
These excellent rules come to you from Simone Joyaux, CFRE via Jean Block Consulting, Inc.
Blog post submitted by Alice Burkholder,
Community & Alumni Relations Coordinator, Harmony Foundation
EPNRC Board Member