In May of 2013 I was invited to the monthly Membership Committee Meeting for the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce, the first committee meeting I ever attended. In June, the newly elected Chairman of the Board, Debbie Mitsch asked me to be the Head of the Membership Committee, and I accepted – even though – I had no idea what I was doing.
I organized our first meeting with the members already enlisted in the group. I wanted to be prepared and so I thought of our talking points, I emailed the members of the committee and I created an agenda of topics to discuss.
During the meeting, we discussed our goals of the committee and how we were going to achieve them. My first time managing a committee meeting. No one was murdered and we accomplished something.
My first time in charge of a committee = success!
My second session did not go as well. As the owner of Welborn Media, it was easy to get overwhelmed with my day-to-day activities so this volunteer assignment of running the Membership Committee meeting took a back seat. I worked right up until the time I was supposed to leave for the meeting. I did no pre-planning and had no idea what I was going to cover for the meeting.
I thought I could wing it. And although I did a decent job, (no one got murdered this time either) something was off. I could tell that the committee members lost enthusiasm because of my lack of preparedness.
While being a member of other groups, including my time as a High School Teacher, and as a member of the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce, I was always annoyed at people who were placed in positions of power who lacked the necessary preparation for the position – especially as organizers of meetings. The meetings went fine, but my enthusiasm for those groups waned because those in charge did not properly prepare prior to getting together with the group.
After my second meeting, I knew I needed to be more prepared.
In life, I’m conscious of the things that annoy me and want to make sure I’m not annoying others. And wasting my time is a big one, so I want to be sure I’m not wasting the time of others either.
Because of the non-verbal cues I received from those in attendance at my second meeting in charge of the Membership Committee, I made some changes.
Here are the steps I took to help manage my time so that I was better prepared for running monthly meetings for the Membership Committee at the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce:
- Approximately one week before meeting, email all group members with:
- the agenda
- date, time and location of meeting
- reminders about anything they were responsible for from the last meeting
- One day before meeting, email all group members with:
- the agenda
- date, time and location of meeting
- reminders about anything they were responsible for from the last meeting.
- cover all topics in the agenda.
- respect everyone’s time. Always be on time and always end the meetings on time.
- take notes about action items to be completed by next meeting
- ask for topics of discussion for next meeting
- email meeting recap
- remind members of tasks/responsibilities to be completed by the next meeting
The pre-meeting routine not only helps to prepare me mentally for our topic discussion each week, but it helps to remind members of their responsibilities and adds more credibility to the work we are doing. Each email takes about 5 minutes to put together and helps to save time being wasted at our actual meeting.
During the meeting, I make sure to cover all the topics presented on the agenda, to start and end the meeting on time, and take notes to remind myself of the tasks each one of us is supposed to complete.
*Note – As someone who has attended his fair share of meetings, there is nothing that annoys me more than a meeting that lasts longer than is scheduled.
The post-meeting helps to maintain the momentum gained from the meeting, to remind others about their assignments for the month and, most importantly, it documents everything we discussed in the meeting so I can reference it when planning for the next meeting.
All in all, my extra planning for each meeting takes an additional 15 minutes of preparation for an hour-long meeting.
Since implementing, I’ve found that more members attend more meetings, they are more enthusiastic, they complete more of their monthly tasks, and we generate better ideas for our meetings.
My time management skills have made me a more effective leader and has resulted in substantial benefits for our Membership Committee, the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce, our community, and Welborn Media.
To learn more about time management, please listen to my interview with Tom Dowd on the Defining Success Podcast – Episode 111: Time Management Tips and Tactics | Tom Dowd Author of Time Management Manifesto.
Zeb Welborn is the owner of Welborn Media. Welborn Media helps passionate business owners navigate the online world to help grow their business.
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