College is busy. Your chapter members have enough to worry about between study groups, professors’ office hours and remembering to eat breakfast or call home. Don’t waste their time with another meeting of announcements that could have been sent by email. Follow these guidelines to improve the efficiency of your meetings (if you have one at all).
1. The litmus test for a meeting
Is there anything the entire group needs to discuss? If not then don’t hold a meeting in the first place.
Begin each meeting with this (after opening with Ritual, of course): “The purpose of this meeting is to discuss _____.” If you can’t complete this sentence then you shouldn’t be holding a meeting.
2. Set an agenda
Ask members to submit agenda items several days before a potential meeting. Separate the proposals into groups of discussion items (e.g. chapter goal setting) and announcements (e.g. winter formal dates).
Compile the announcements and include them with the meeting minutes; don’t recite the announcements out loud at any time during the meeting.
Resolve to stick to the agenda items. If it’s not on the predetermined agenda then it doesn’t get discussed until the next meeting. End the practice of running down a chapter roster asking for monotonous officer reports (i.e. announcements).
3. Use the committee system
The entire chapter doesn’t need to discuss the recruitment t-shirt design or the LEAD calendar (have you ever tried to choose a movie with more than two people?). The committees or individual officers should be making these decisions–that’s why we entrusted them with these responsibilities.
Save precious chapter meeting time for important discussions like long-term goal setting, bid extensions and officer elections. Again, if there’s nothing to discuss then give chapter members the night off so they can study for an exam, work on their resume or maybe just relax.
4. How to use the extra time
So your chapter discovered it can operate just fine without 2-hour meetings every week. How do you spend all of that extra time?
Instead of listening to the same announcements you’ve been hearing for the past three weeks, host a guest speaker to discuss personal finance with the chapter. Or ask a business professor to help the chapter develop a strategic plan. Or invite a representative from the campus career center to facilitate a resume workshop.
Hold your resume workshop at a sorority house. Invite your friends from class to the LEAD session on mastering job interviews. Don’t even mention it’s a fraternity thing, because it just became a recruitment event too. Get creative, mix it up.
With boring, redundant and unnecessary meetings out of the way, the possibilities abound for personal development and chapter growth.