Running good meetings
Meeting with colleagues, allies and even opponents are vital in running a campaign. These are times when you work together to delegate jobs and make decisions.
Appoint a facilitator
A facilitator supports the group to have a fruitful and inclusive meeting so make sure you appoint one or two people responsible for facilitating each meeting. Facilitators have three main roles:
- Making sure you achieve the task
This includes having an agenda, keeping to time, staying focused on the objective, solving problems and reaching decisions.
- Making sure everyone is involved and the group works harmoniously together
This includes engaging people, empowering people to speak, building relationships and a positive group culture, and addressing emerging power dynamics.
- Ensuring follow-up of the meetings
This includes circulating minutes so that everyone is informed and making sure that the actions agreed upon are taken.
Running meetings online
The pandemic has meant many meetings have moved to online platforms.
But even when we are through this pandemic and are able to meet in person, you may find online meetings continue to be useful – even preferable. They can increase accessibility, connect you with organisers in other regions or countries, and help people who are time poor or resource poor to take part.
Where possible, it is always worth organising face-to-face meetings or hangouts.
Tips for good online meetings:
- Keep it short (1 hour max).
- Appoint someone to manage the tech – e.g. arranging break out groups and letting people into the meeting.
- Keep presentations short and send things to read in advance if there is a lot of information to share.
- Use break out rooms for pair or smaller group discussions so everyone has a chance speak.
- Experiment with interactive powerpoints or google jam boards so people can do a virtual brainstorm
Accessibility and inclusion
Accessibility means making it possible for disabled and d/Deaf people to participate in a space or event. Making a meeting accessible is also about reducing the barriers that may restrict people’s ability to attend – e.g. having to pay to come to the meeting, or hosting the meeting in different language.
For support on making your meetings inclusive, check out the Diversity and Inclusion Guidelines of the European Youth Forum.
Ask people what they need
The best way to ensure a meeting addresses the needs of everyone attending is simply to ask people what they need. You can do this by sending out an email or survey in advance of the meeting date. People can let you know if they need time for reflection, sign language interpretation, translation, wheelchair accessibility etc.
Questions for reflection
- Have you attended a really bad meeting? For example, have you attended a meeting full of unresolved conflict or that failed to achieve what it set out to do?
- What were the problems with the meeting? How could you address them?
- Have you ever attended a really great meeting; smooth, harmonious and productive? What do you think contributed to it working so well?