American workers participate in 33 million meetings per day, so it’s safe to say that your church members and guests are familiar with how time-consuming meetings can be. Whether you’re planning for Vacation Bible School or holding a new member info session, the last thing you want is for attendees to tune out or not come back next time.
Keeping your meetings energized and on track is easier than you may think, but it does take time and forethought.
5 steps to steer clear of a boring meeting:
1. Plan ahead. The best cure for a rough meeting is to plan ahead. Think through why you’re having the meeting, what you want your attendees to get from it and how you’re going to accomplish those goals. You shouldn’t have a meeting just to have a meeting. A clear purpose will help you stay on track, which will make it a more enjoyable experience for your attendees.
2. Get the right room and equipment. Small table discussions are easy to plan for, but what happens when your meeting has more than 30 people in a larger room? You’re going to have to consider sound equipment, seating setup and the speaker’s visibility. Even if you have a booming voice, some people may have a hard time hearing you. Your participants will thank you for the consideration.
3. Set expectations and value time. People have taken the time out of their busy days or evenings to attend your meeting. Let them know ahead of time when the meeting will end to help them plan their schedules. Then stick to it. If questions are going to push the meeting over the allotted time, let participants know that time is running over and they’re welcome to leave if they need to. This allows your meeting to continue with those who have time to stay.
4. Create and stick to an agenda. Meeting agendas provide structure and make sure you accomplish what you want. Don’t set out to accomplish too much in one meeting. Make sure you have one (just one) main goal, then anything else is a bonus. For example, if you’re hosting an informational event about e-Giving, your one main goal might be for every attendee to know how to set up recurring payments on your website. If questions come up about other topics, acknowledge them and ask people to talk to you after the meeting.
5. Always share next steps. With some meetings, it’s possible to plan next steps before you even start the meeting. If you want your attendees to be more familiar with e-Giving, plan to hand out a summary of how to use your e-Giving tools and contact information for questions. That gives attendees the ability to immediately leave and act on what they’ve learned. You might have led an amazing meeting, but if you don’t provide a way to act, everything you shared could quickly be forgotten.
Meetings don’t have to be boring! Plan ahead, get the right room, set expectations, stick to your agenda and provide next steps. Do that and your meetings will be head and shoulders above corporate America. That’s something your members and guests will definitely appreciate.