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News From OSA
Creating Meetings Your Members Will Love to Attend: Part 1
Written by KiKi L’Italien, OSA Chapter & Student Services Manager
Chapter and Section leaders often fight for a member’s attention and time. In recognition of this, leaders should create well-designed, efficiently administered meetings tied to member needs and interests in order to make attendance worthwhile. This is true for all types of meetings within a chapter or section: committee/officer meetings, regularly scheduled general chapter meetings, lectures, or special events (an awards ceremony, summer picnic, or anything else).
- Be publicized well (and often)
- Be held at times and in locations that are reasonably accessible by members
- Have a clearly defined purpose (agenda, speaker topic, etc.)
- Must start and end on time
- Must have substance of direct relevance to the attendees
Here are some ideas that will help you create the meetings your members will love to attend!
- Be Aware of Time: People rearrange their schedules to attend meetings – leaders should respect members’ time.
- Make Networking Easier: Use name tags at every meeting even if you only have 10 attendees. This will increase members’ confidence as they approach each other. Tip: Print names on large nametags and it will help people with poor eyesight or bifocals to read.
- Encourage Participation: Find a way to identify guests and new members, so that less active members are encouraged to participate.
The Social Hour
It is important for you to support your members in building their relationships within your chapter or section. The more connections people make, the more likely they are to become long-term, active members.
- Ease Tension: Background music helps to relax guests – especially early arrivals. Tip: Try not to have music up so loud that it becomes difficult to talk over it.
- Use Ice Breakers: Have occasional icebreaker activities. Help your members mingle by giving them an excuse to talk to each other. Try searching for “Icebreaker Activities” through Google.
- Use Meeting Hosts: Meeting hosts can help members feel welcome, chat with people, and introduce members or visitors to other people in the room. Tip: Try to have a minimum of one meeting host for every 10 people attending.
Please consider the above recommendations when organizing your meetings. Poorly designed events can only erode your Chapter or Section’s health. Your meetings give members the chance to meet each other face to face – critical for building a sense of community that so many of them want. Your members also expect a good return for their time investments – as well as a chance to have some fun and get away from the stress of the day. Better meetings encourage participation in your groups – good luck with your next one!
[Please look for the winter edition of Focal Point in early January to read Part 2 of this article.]