Are you focusing too much on minutiae and housekeeping items? Missing the mark on meaningful engagement? It doesn’t have to be that way! Make your next student affairs staff meeting productive by following these simple steps.
1. Know your audience
Have you ever heard the complaint, “That could have been an email?” Well, sometimes it’s true. As you start planning for your meeting, be mindful of who you send an invitation to. Identify who absolutely needs to be there and indicate to everyone else that their presence is appreciated but not necessary. Improve productivity from the start by selecting individuals who will provide support and contribute thoughtfully to the initiative. You’ll be saving time across your department by being intentional with this first step.
2. Set a Purpose
If the focus of your meeting is solely to disseminate information and make announcements, there’s definitely better ways to share those messages. Show that you value everyone’s time by setting a meeting purpose that benefits your students and faculty. Building relationships, professional development, and problem-solving skills are all great places to start.
3. Make an agenda
This one may seem obvious, but the benefits of having an agenda can’t be overstated. A well-prepared agenda sent out at least 24 hours beforehand is the best way you can let people know how to come prepared. Consider these when creating your agenda:
- A brief statement of the meeting’s purpose
- Necessary details like the location, time, and what to bring
- Items of business with estimated discussion times for each item
- Questions that encourage engagement
4. Create a deck
Consolidate your presentation into a handful of slides that support your meeting goals and purpose. Include open-ended questions about potential areas of improvement or suggested action items for attendees to think about when minds begin to wander. Whether your department has ready-made templates you can easily use to drop in your content, or use free alternatives such as Canva or Google Slides, develop a deck to effectively keep your team on schedule and compile all the essential information into one package that you can quickly distribute post-meeting to refer to as needed.
Successful facilitation draws on the expertise of your attendees. Don’t be afraid of using small-group breakout sessions to give everyone a chance to be heard. Remember to summarize and verify suggestions made before moving on to the next agenda item. Unresolved issues should be tabled to keep up the momentum and stick to your schedule.
6. Stay open to feedback
The best way to get feedback is to ask for it. Be clear about wanting to make your staff meetings a productive and meaningful use of time. Consider having a suggestion box in the meeting room for less vocal attendees to contribute. When people know their ideas are valued, they are more open to participating.
We all hope that our staff meetings energize and motivate. While it’s optimistic to hope that every meeting will be an inspiration, following the steps above will create engaging, productive staff meetings that make a difference in your teachers, students, and school.