The start of the school year can mean two things for PRSSA executive boards: a lot of exciting ideas and “e-board” meetings lasting several hours. Weekly e-board meetings should be a productive time full of brainstorming, organizing and planning of upcoming activities for your Chapter. However, sometimes what is supposed to be an hour-long meeting, can turn into two or three hours of distracted, interrupted and irrelevant conversation. The following advice will help all e-boards have efficient, productive and enjoyable meetings.
Assign a meeting leader.
People, especially PRSSA students, love to talk. However, when more than two people try to talk at the same time, chaos can erupt. A meeting leader can help resolve this issue by setting the tone and expectations of the meeting. Your executive board should decide who will be the meeting leader; perhaps the president should oversee all the meetings or maybe each week a different e-board member should try it out. Experiment with your options and use the one that works best for your executive board.
Create an agenda.
One of the easiest ways to make sure your executive board meetings stay on track is having an agenda. The agenda should outline what the goals and talking points of the meeting will revolve around. If you really want to plan ahead and ensure the agenda will be followed, have every e-board member send their personal agenda to the meeting leader beforehand. That way the meeting leader can design an effective agenda that will meet everyone’s needs. This also will allow everyone to go into the meeting more organized, knowing what he or she will talk about.
As college students, we tend to get wrapped up in the constant news and social media cycle. Whether you’re in class or out at dinner, some sort of screen usually makes an appearance. Electronics are the biggest source of distractions during meetings. Therefore, consider implementing an electronic-free policy during your Chapter’s e-board meetings. By doing so, everyone will be more in tune with what one another are saying and people are more likely to ask questions or bring up a concern.
Set a time limit.
The longer your e-board meetings are, the less productive they will be. By setting a time limit, the meeting leader will be tasked with making sure you get through the agenda in the allotted time. If your meeting falls short of the time limit, use that opportunity to brainstorm ideas for your Chapter or get a head start on planning your next big event. On the other hand, if your meeting does run over the time limit, have the meeting leader send out an email to everyone with the remaining information that wasn’t covered during the meeting. Being respectful of one another’s time is important and will prove to your executive board that you value the time you have together.
Leave every meeting with homework.
Throughout the meeting, ideas will be shared, plans will be made and goals will be achieved. Throughout this process, everyone in attendance should share and receive something in return. Discussion and agreement without an assignment of responsibility is merely a conversation. Make sure to explain who is going to do what and when. Sending out a meeting recap email the next day is a great way to remind people of what their homework for the following meeting is.
Remember, executive board meetings should be productive, however, they should also be enjoyable. Test out different techniques at your meetings to find what works best for your e-board. The best meetings are the ones in which everyone leaves energized and feeling that you’ve accomplished something. So this year, challenge your e-board to hold meetings that make everyone happy while also achieving your Chapter’s goals. Good luck!
Emma Ingram is a junior studying public relations and strategic communication at American University in Washington DC. This year she is serving as the president of her school’s PRSSA Chapter. She was previously the Chapter’s vice president. Follow her on Twitter @emmaaingramm or connect with her on Linkedin.