– The fundamentals are not as complicated as you might think.


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I wonder how many meetings I’ve attended in my lifetime. It must be in the thousands. Of course, there have been the multitude of corporate meetings I’ve participated in, either with customers or internally. Then there are the many meetings I’ve attended over the years from the many nonprofit organizations I’ve belonged to, not to mention several meetings for the Board of Directors I have been involved with (more than 50 now). Sometimes I feel like I am more in the business of attending meetings as opposed to doing anything else.

I do not mind attending the nonprofit related meetings as I see it as a way to volunteer my time for some worthwhile causes, which is the least I can do. What I do mind though is to attend a poorly run meeting regardless if it is for a commercial company or for a nonprofit. I find it a bit disconcerting when a meeting is run badly. Then again, many well-meaning people participate in nonprofit organizations, be it a homeowners association, a sports club, a special interest group, or a religious/fraternal organization. They may have plenty of time on their hands to participate, but they haven’t got a clue as to how to run a business and, not surprisingly, run some of the worst meetings imaginable.

Regardless of the organizations I’m involved with, all I ask is that the meeting…

1. Start and end on time. Not a minute before or after. This includes not waiting for someone who is running late thereby creating a problem for others. This is simply discourteous.

2. Follow an agenda. Print it up and distribute it accordingly, preferably prior to the meeting so others can prepare themselves accordingly.

3. Maintain order to eliminate distractions and focus on business. Got a gavel? Use one. Haven’t got one? Get one. No, you do not have to be Genghis Khan to run a meeting, just someone with a little common sense, patience, discipline, and a sence of fairness. If this sounds like a baseball umpire, it is.

4. Be meaningful and interesting. Avoid boring subjects and speakers. Make the meeting something people “want” to attend as opposed to feeling compelled to do so.

Nobody wants to attend an inconsequential meeting. If treated frivolously, people will become apathetic and attendance will drop. I can remember my homeowner association board of directors meeting would literally go on for hours with nothing of any substance resulting from it. When I finally assumed the presidency, I set new records for conducting such meetings. Instead of hours wasted, I completed the business of the association in less than an hour. The first time I did this, one member of the board asked, “You mean, we’re done?” After I confirmed his suspicions, I invited him to have a libation at a nearby watering hole.

Unfortunately, after my term of office was completed, the group returned to its long-winded ways. I was asked by others to stay on as President, but I feel it is important to rotate such officers. Besides, I do not want to turn the presidency of a homeowner association into my life’s work. I have other fish to fry.

One last point, I have little use for people who come to meetings unprepared. If you serve on a Board of Directors, regardless of how frivolous it may seem, you are doing a disservice to it by coming to a meeting unprepared. And for God’s sake, bring a pen or pencil and something to take notes on. Only an idiot comes to a meeting without anything to write with.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  DEALING WITH OFFICE CLUTTER – Regardless of your profession, is it really necessary to work in a pigpen?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm ET), and KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays. 6:00-10:00am MST). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

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