Effective Meetings for Student Organizations

Meeting ImageDo you dread attending meetings because they are dull, unproductive, disorganized or too long?  Meetings can be unfocused, boring and are sometimes called unnecessarily.  Meetings set the tone for future engagements and the future of the organization! 

The following are some tips to help you make your meetings successful, productive and fun:

Meeting Preparation

Before you call a meeting, you must ask yourself whether you have to call it at all.  Sometimes a group-wide e-mail or a few simple conversations can accomplish the same thing more easily.  If you decide you need to have a meeting, then you must plan carefully.  This is your most important step as a meeting leader.

  • Physical Setting - Remember to reserve a room, arrange for any special equipment and have a plan for putting the room back in order after the meeting is finished.  Work with your Advisor to reserve room or complete the online request for the Community Room HERE!
  • Agenda - Defines the purpose of the meeting.  The agenda should not be overly ambitious, but should address all items necessary for the meeting.  Agendas may include; Approval of Agenda with any additions or retractions, Correction and Approval of Minutes; Announcements; Treasurer's Report; Committee Reports; Unfinished Business; New Business; Special Issues/Concerns; Adjournment.  Communicate with your advisor prior to the meeting to see if they have any additions to the agenda.
  • Distribution - Distribute the agenda and any other pertinent information (e.g., articles or relevant policies) to members prior to the meeting (perhaps by e-mail) so they can review and be prepared to discuss items.  Also, make sure members know where and when the meeting is to take place!

During the Meeting


  • Greet members and make them feel welcome.
  • Get people excited about the meeting! Show your enthusiasm.  Make it fun and enjoyable.
  • As a leader, be a role model.  Listen, show interest, appreciation and confidence in members.  Respect people's feelings and acknowledge constructive contributions.  Head off private conversations that are irrelevant to the topic at hand.
  • Be professional and courteous.  Allow everyone the chance to contribute.


  • When possible, have light refreshments, even if it's just candy.  This helps people relax and breaks the ice.
  • Encourage group discussion and feedback on all discussion topics.  You will have better decisions and highly motivated members that help shape the organization and the activities if they have participated in the process.
  • Keep conversations focused.  As gently and tactfully as possible, end discussions when they are unproductive or becoming detrimental.
  • Recognize, recognize, recognize - Congratulate members who have done something great in the organization, on campus or elsewhere.  Celebrate significant holidays, birthdays, organizational accomplishments, etc.  Be creative and have fun with recognizing your members.


  • Appoint someone to keep minutes of the meeting for future reference. This should be the role of the Secretary!
  • Start on time and end on time.  Be mindful of other people's time.
  • Review the agenda, and then stick to it.


  • Get done what you need to get done.
  • Work for consensus.


  • Set a date, time and place for the next meeting.
  • Collect any sign-in or sign-up sheets.
  • Close the meeting with a strong positive statement.  Thank the group and acknowledge their efforts.

After the Meeting

  • Write up and distribute minutes within the next few days.
  • Follow-up on delegated tasks and ensure members understand and fulfill their responsibilities.  Give recognition and appreciation to excellent and timely progress.
  • Put unfinished business on the agenda for the next meeting.

Effective Meeting Resources

Sample Meeting Agenda

Robert's Rules of Order Cheat Sheet