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Planning Effective Meetings

Are chapter meetings getting you down? If your chapter is struggling with low meeting attendance and lackluster engagement by members in chapter events, then it’s time to shake things up a bit.

Try a new point of view. If your meetings fail to generate the results you are searching for, take a look at the situation from a new point of view – that of the members who aren’t engaging in your chapter. Whether feedback comes from a short survey or even informal conversations with members in class, listen with an unbiased ear to learn what members want.

Maybe, for example, holding meetings in the day only is crushing your connection with evening-only students or offering a snack and help with homework for members’ children during chapter meetings would enable single parents to attend after work.  Whatever you find, respond to members’ needs and watch your level of members engagement rise.

Did someone say free food? When students know that snacks are a staple of chapter meetings, they are more likely to venture back the next time your chapter hosts an event or meeting. The food doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive to be effective. If the chapter budget is tight, try making the meeting a potluck.

Offer a change of pace. Resist falling into the rut of making every meeting all about getting the job done. If members sense that work is always required, they won’t attend. Mix in “just for fun” events and invite members to bring family, friends and non-members to join in. Or, put a fun spin on a work project. Take a break from researching your Honors in Action project and try a movie night focused on an Honors Study Topic theme.

Share the limelight. Divide agenda topics for each meeting among chapter officers and committee members for variety in your speaker lineup. When appropriate, invite guest speakers of interest to all types of students.

Put those Pinterest ideas to work. Decorate your meeting space using a theme for each meeting. Look to Society programs like the Honors Study Topic for ideas.

Spread the wealth. Having several team leaders in addition to your regular officers provides more opportunities for engagement plus it helps dispel the belief that just the officers are running the show.

Your image is all in how you phrase it. Encourage leaders of the meeting to use an inclusive theme in their word choices. Always encourage member participating in your meetings. Asking “What does everyone think?” rather that stating “Here’s what we’re going to do” will go a long way to creating an atmosphere where all members feel comfortable joining in.

Show your true colors. Ask members to wear their Phi Theta Kappa clothing on meeting days. This visual can create a sense of chapter comradery among members, plus it’s wonderful advertising for your chapter!


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