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Running a Meeting

In-Person Meetings

How We Can Help:

Do you have to run an upcoming meeting for your organization? Are you nervous about getting the best possible outcome from this event? With the Office of Student Activities’ help, your meeting can be quite successful, which can ultimately lead to a successful organization or club. Below are some ideas for running a productive meeting.

To Do List:

  • Plan a meeting time when all members (or the most members) can attend. Make sure the meeting time and place is known.
  • Make an agenda. Agendas allow all members to have written information regarding a specific issue or topic. You can use these agendas to also highlight upcoming events.
  • Take notes. Be sure a member (like a secretary) is taking notes that can later be posted or emailed to all members. (This will be beneficial if ever a member needs to reference a meeting topic to discuss.)
  • Be available to members before and/or after meetings if ever there are questions or concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is there a certain format in which we should run our meetings to achieve the best outcome? This really depends on your organization. The Student Activities Office can help you best plan out your meetings to fit your organization and your own style.
  • Do we need to have weekly meetings? What if we don’t have anything to discuss? Yes. You should have weekly meetings, and if needed, you can always cancel the meeting.
Hybrid Meetings

Running a Meeting Remotely and In-Person

We have seen how Zoom can make meetings and appointments more convenient and so, we still encourage your organization to utilize this feature for any members that are unable to meet in-person.  These meetings are important in creating community and connection.  While a resource like zoom is very convenient,  it is important to ensure they are used in a way that maintains safety for all participants.  In order to keep your online meetings and events running smoothly and safely, we ask you to review how you can set up your zoom spaces using the platforms many safety measures including waiting rooms and passcodes as well as requiring Penn State authentication.

Penn State’s Office of Information Security has comprehensive guides to help: 

Some topics for these meetings may include: 

  1. Upcoming Elections: Elections can still be completed remotely for those members who are joining virtually! During a virtual meeting, candidates can give short speeches and answer any questions, if that is typically how your in-person elections are run. In addition, you can use OrgCentral to collect votes. Check out our “Online Elections through OrgCentral”  to learn more.  
  2. Future Planning: It’s never too early to start planning for the next thing!  25Live is available for room reservations and Event Management is still able to answer any questions.  UPAC is also available for financial support.  Talking about what your organization’s priorities are for the current and upcoming semesters is a great use of regular meeting time.  

There is a screen-sharing feature in Zoom that allows a PowerPoint or documents to be displayed and discussed as well as a recording option if content would like to be recorded in advance and distributed to organization members. 

Zoom may be helpful for: full organization meetings, committee meetings, interviews, one on one conversations, elections, and more. 

Best Practices in Hosting Hybrid Meetings: 

  1. Have an Agenda: Having an agenda can help guide and focus a hybrid meeting. Set expectations if you’d like others to contribute to the agenda ahead of time.  

  2. Practice Active Facilitation: Meeting leaders must draw remote attendees in and keep a tally to be sure all are contributing. Avoid asking, “Any comments?”. Encourage individuals to speak up during these meetings and also facilitate equal airtime to those that may not feel as if they are being heard.  

  3. Silence Doesn’t Always Equal Understanding/Agreement: There are some great apps available that allow participants to vote in real time to help facilitators gauge consensus.  

  1. Use Video (if possible): Video helps create a feeling of “presence” so attendees are actively engaged.  

  1. Use the Chat Function: This can be a great way to have members ask questions throughout a meeting without interrupting. In addition, members can share important links this way with on another.  

  1. End Meetings on a Positive, Productive Note: Leave a few minutes to clarify takeaways from the meeting. Identify the directly responsible person for each action item, so no one leaves wondering what was accomplished. Encourage members to look forward to the next meeting of the group, whether a meeting or virtual program.  

  1. Ask People How the Meeting Went:  This is new for everyone! Encourage members to provide feedback on the meeting and how things be made better for the future. Remember, we’re all learning how to be best in this new environment! 

*adapted from “Tips for hosting effective virtual meetings”