11 ways to get people to meetings

June 24, 2013       The NonProfit Times      

In the minds of most people, meetings are seen as nothing but negatives: wasted time, fruitless discussion, disturbed sleep. Meetings outside the organization can be even worse.

Meetings can be fruitful, however.

In her “A Random Book About the Power of Anyone” Talia Y. Leman offers a few suggestions for getting people to come to meetings. Some of the ideas come from Ben Hirschfeld of the Lit! Solar Lantern Project, and others are Leman’s own.

  • Remember the win/win. Find out what makes individuals tick and help them understand how participating will help them;
  • Get on their calendars. Give advance notice, and send reminders;
  • Make attendance matter. Prepare agendas to harness the value others bring;
  • Make their role matter. Having significant roles with official titles helps them see their contribution as a priority;
  • Make it fit. Match people with jobs that fit their skills and interests;
  • Make it simple. Break down actions that forward team goals into manageable steps with clear completion dates;
  • Double-team mission-critical tasks. Adding a backup or co-leader can make a difference in making people comfortable and getting the job done;
  • Take care of the team. Snacks and meals can be helpful, as are practical details about locations, etc.;
  • Keep it moving. Respect people’s time;
  • Keep everyone in the loop. People like to be part of a winning team; and,
  • Build team spirit and show appreciation. Even a simple “thank you” matters.
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