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Guide to productive meetings
Excerpts from the January/February 2003 Issue of Leader Link.

Preparation
For every meeting, there should be a goal that guides the meeting. Because there is always something else to do or one more thing to consider, it is easy to get sidetracked or bogged-down. Prevent that by answering these three questions: 
     ·  
What needs to be done or decided?  
     ·   Who will be at the meeting?
     ·  
When and where will the meeting be?

The answers to these questions will help you establish an agenda that will allow everyone to speak to the issues they want, and still get through everything you need.

Setting the agenda (sample agenda)
An agenda is made up of several elements that fall into two categories:
     ·   items for information (sub-committee, financial, and other reports) and
     ·   items for decision/discussion.

If you are not sure if a decision requires a vote, it is best to be same and ask for a motion and vote. Among others, items that always require votes include:
    
·   spending any money that hasn’t already been approved by a vote, 
    
·   establish a committee or sub-committee, 
    
·   changes or additions to procedures or policies, and
    
·   changes to Standing Rules or Constitutions.

To vote on any issues, you must have a quorum. A quorum is defined in your Committee or Local Section governing documents. It is most commonly defined as a majority of everyone on a committee or board – so a board or committee of 15 must have at least 8 people at the meeting in order to vote.

Meeting Extras
On the day of the meeting, it is a good idea to bring at least one extra copy of: 
     ·   the agenda, 
     ·   the minutes of the last meeting to approve 
     ·   any written reports or documents to be handed out, and
     ·   the committee or board contact sheet.  

In addition to material specific to the meeting, you may want to consider bringing: 
     ·   a clock or other timepiece, 
     ·   standing rules or constitution for the committee or local section, and 
     ·   the CWEA (state) Constitution.

Follow-up & Follow-through
Get the meeting minutes out as quickly as possible after the meeting. The actual “best time” depends on the issues discussed at the meeting, and when your next meeting is scheduled. If there are burning issues, it is a good idea to get the draft minutes out sooner rather than later. This ensures that everyone involved has the same recollection of the outcome.

To ensure that everyone’s time is used in a meaningful and productive manner, keep these simple standards in mind: 
     ·    prepare through sending announcements & advance information
     ·    set and stick to the agenda, 
     ·    follow up and follow through.

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