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How To Run A Good Meeting

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How to Run a Good Meeting

Most people don't like meetings. They say they are boring, go on too long, and don't get anything done. And often that's the truth. So to have a good meeting, you need to make it interesting, keep it on track, and make sure something gets done. Here are eight steps toward making your next meeting a success.

1. Make sure you need to have a meeting. Meetings are needed when a group of people must be involved in an action or a decision. Don't schedule a meeting just because it's time to have one.

2. Set a goal for the meeting. Be very clear about why you're having the meeting, and what needs to get done or be decided. Break that task into steps, or divide the discussion into sectionsÐ'--that's the agenda for your meeting. At the start of the meeting say, this is our goal, and if we can get this done, the meeting will be a success. At the end of the meeting remind them that you achieved your goal. This lets everyone leave feeling successful, and they'll be glad to come to your next meeting.

3. Put decisions to the group. The participants own the meeting. Let them set the agenda before the meeting, or at least add to it when you begin. If decisions need to be made about the process (whether to end a discussion that's going too long, for example) then ask that question to the group.

4. Stay on schedule. Remember that every minute a person spends in your meeting, they could be doing other things. They're with you because they've decided your meeting is important, so treat them like their time is important. Start on time and end on time!

5. Pay attention to what's important. Set a certain amount of time for each item on the agenda, based on how important it is. If the group starts spending a lot of time on details, ask them "Is this what we want to spend our time talking about?" A lot of details can be worked out by individuals or committeesÐ'--meetings are for the decisions that need to involve the whole group.

6. Keep the meeting on track. Your agenda is the tool you use to make sure you're on time and on the right topic. When side issues come up, help the group get back on track. If the issue sounds important, check with the group. "We're talking about a new issueÐ'--is this something important that we should take time to discuss?"

7. Make sure people participate. People think a meeting is useful based on one simple thing: whether or not they talked. So everybody should have a chance to share their ideas. It's okay to ask specific people what they think! You should also be prepared to gently remind people when they're talking too much.

8. Have good facilitation. The facilitator is the person who runs the meeting and acts on all the steps listed above. It's a big job, and it usually doesn't fit well with participating in the discussion. So if you need to have your views heard, let someone else run the meeting! Good facilitation doesn't just happenÐ'--it's a skill that comes with training and practice.

Robert's Rules of Order Motions Chart (Side 1)

The motions below are listed in order of precedence. A motion can be introduced if it is higher on the chart than the pending motion.


Close meeting I move to adjourn No Yes No No Majority

Take break I move to recess for ... No Yes No Yes Majority

Register complaint I rise to a question of privilege Yes No No No None

Make follow agenda I call for the orders of the day Yes No No No None

Lay aside temporarily I move to lay the question on the table No Yes No No Majority

Close debate I move the previous question No Yes No No 2/3

Limit or extend debate I move that debate be limited to ... No Yes No Yes 2/3

Postpone to a certain time I move to postpone the motion to ... No Yes Yes Yes Majority

Refer to committee I move to refer the motion to ... No Yes Yes Yes Majority

Modify wording of motion I move to amend the motion by ... No Yes Yes Yes Majority

Kill main motion I move that the motion be postponed indefinitely No Yes Yes No Majority

Bring business before assembly (a main motion) I move that [or "to"] ... No Yes Yes Yes Majority

Robert's Rules Parliamentary Procedure Motions Chart (Side 2)

Based on Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (10th Edition)

Incidental Motions - no order of precedence. Arise incidentally and are decided immediately.


Enforce rules Point of Order Yes No No No None

Submit matter to assembly I appeal from the decision of the chair Yes Yes Varies No Majority

Suspend rules I move to suspend the rules No Yes No No 2/3

Avoid main motion altogether I object to the consideration of the question Yes No No No 2/3

Divide motion I move to divide the question No Yes No Yes Majority




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