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September 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio September 2002 Current Issue
September 2002 ChecklistPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:

Checklist

BY MARTHA COOKE

DEVELOPING THE MEETING AGENDA

The following checklist was adapted in part from The Complete Handbook of Business Meetings by Eli Mina (AMACOM; www.amanet.org).

SETTING PRIORITIES

  • Does the agenda item fit within the group’s operating philosophy and the overall purpose of the meeting?
  • Is the item for discussion, decision-making or for information only?
  • Is the issue timely for this meeting?
  • What research or other supporting materials will be necessary to adequately address the item? Is there enough time to prepare these materials?
  • Determine who will present information and take questions. If necessary, assign people to specific tasks.
  • Determine how much time to allot for each item. Allocate less time for routine and noncontroversial agenda items. Conversely, allow more time for items that are likely to provoke debate.
  • SCHEDULING

  • Schedule routine items for the beginning of the meeting.
  • Leave ample time for issues requiring a vote or decision, to ensure completion.
  • Schedule agenda items requiring creativity for the morning, when concentration is at its highest. Avoid addressing these topics immediately after lunch, when people are more apt to be sluggish.
  • Intersperse substantive items with lighter ones to avoid attendee burnout.
  • If the day’s schedule is long, allow for ample break time so attendees can check voice- and e-mail.
  • Leave time at the end of the meeting to discuss new business or to accommodate any issues that exceeded their designated time.
  • Develop a numbering system for agenda items to make minute-taking and future references easier.
  • Include question-and-answer sessions after speaker segments so attendees can interact with the presenter. varying formats Consider adapting any of the following elements.
  • Begin the session with an icebreaker, or arrange for a comedic sketch facilitated by a professional.
  • Schedule a keynote speech that addresses the group’s overall operating principles. Consider utilizing a guest speaker, rather than internal management, for variety.
  • Have small group discussions on pressing issues.
  • Schedule a strategically timed refreshment break (coffee, dessert bar, etc.) to encourage networking.
  • Consider holding a networking reception at day’s end if the schedule is too intensive to allow for attendee interaction.
  • SOLICITING MEMBER INPUT
    Solicit feedback from members both before and after the meeting to encourage their involvement and integrate valuable ideas into the program. Some questions to ask:

  • How can we serve members/customers better?
  • What creative fund-raising methods should we consider?
  • How can we keep members/customers better informed of new initiatives?
  • How can we collaborate with similar organizations to help further our goals?
  • How can we improve communication with the community, the news media and the general public?
  • How can we capitalize on the skills, knowledge and experience of staff and volunteers?
  • How should achievements and contributions be recognized?
  • What can be done to facilitate the exchange of feedback?
  • How can we enhance the overall quality of meetings?


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