Meetings (Being Prepared)

In order for a meeting to be successful, everybody must:

  • Know the purpose of the meeting/understand the aims and objectives of it
  • Have read all relevant paperwork in advance and come prepared
  • Contribute positively (Do you have any issues to raise?)
  • Listen (and take notes)
  • Stick to the point
  • At the end, note down any action points and check they are carried out

ParticipantsThere are four roles in a meeting:

  • Leader (Chairperson)
  • Supporter (Secretary / minute-taker)
  • Contributor(s)
  • Observer(s)
    • There can be only one leader (Chairperson) and one supporter (Secretary / minute-taker).  These roles are linked as they jointly manage the meeting
    • There can be any number of contributors or observers but most committees limit numbers to a manageable level
    • All participants are responsible for a certain amount of work before, during and after the meeting

The Role of the Chairperson

The Chairperson is the person that controls the actual running of the committee.  They have a number of key responsibilities:

  • At the start of the meeting, s/he should welcome the attendees and confirm the timings (which should already be shown on the agenda)
  • Chairperson will keep control of the meeting, to stop people wandering from the agenda
  • Avoid conflict among attendees
  • To organise any decision making actions
  • Encourage everybody to participate, particularly when looking for agreement, and ‘draw out’ people’s thoughts, actually asking for their input

Agenda & Minutes

The Agenda will be sent to you either electronically or as a hard copy approximately one week before the date of the meeting. The Agenda is split into two sections – the Agenda for this meeting and the minutes of the last meeting.

The Agenda

  • Informs you where and when the meeting is to be held
  • Who the Chairperson and the Secretary of the committee are
  • Gives a brief summary of the issues to be discussed
  • Agenda is sometimes (not always) split into 3 parts: Items for discussion and decision: Items for Adoption or approval without discussion; Information Items

The Minutes 

  • Give a brief summary of the content
  • Summarise details of action points
  • Specify individuals to undertake action points
  • Record time scale that actions are to be undertaken by

This creates a permanent record and also when undertaken properly will detail who attended.  The main aim is to assist the reader (those who had been present and non-attending individuals) to appreciate and understand what took place, what was discussed, what facts were given, who spoke in favour etc. They can be used as evidence and also can be a useful tool for planning future agendas.

If written poorly (or not at all), this will create misunderstandings and mistakes due to the fact that individuals do not have evidence to relate or reference to.  After the meeting, arrangements must be made for the minutes of the meeting to be typed up and presented at the next meeting.

If there is anything you want to raise, please get it to the secretary within the time scale asked for.  Similarly if you have to present evidence or papers please get them to the secretary on time.  If you are in doubt about the time scale you have to get items to the Committee secretary, then please get in contact with them and confirm, as it is difficult to raise issues in some committees in the “any other business” part of the committee.

Personal Preparation

Time spent on preparation is never wasted, however it is amazing how many people request a meeting and do not prepare in advance, believing they will be able to ‘chance it’ on the day.  However it does not look good, and sooner or later you will get caught out.  Even a small time spent in preparation before a meeting will make your task during the meeting much easier.

To Do List

1. Read the agenda & read the papers

  • Read through each item (rather than skim-reading) and consider what will be discussed
  • This will help you to follow discussions at the meeting
  • Remember to take a note pad and pen with you to take notes

2. From reading the agenda you must be able to know BEFOREHAND

  • Where the meeting takes place
  • When the meeting takes place
  • What is to be covered
  • What decisions are expected
  • When decisions are taken
  • How you should behave e.g. do you have a presentation; can you interrupt?)
  • Any help or general guidance you may need

3. Prior to the meeting you must

  • Talk to others for their opinions on the issues (your student cohort etc)
  • Ask an ‘expert’ on any agenda item for clarification if necessary

During the Meeting

  • Take notes
  • Pay attention (Yes it is difficult at times but at least look attentive otherwise others will not take you seriously)
  • Take an active role in the meeting

After the Meeting – Report back!

  • Providing feedback is important to make sure issues are addressed and resolved
  • While in college meetings, make notes of any issues you have raised or any points relevant to the student cohort or the student body in general, so you can feedback any results and/or actions that will occur
  • You can use a group tutorial to feedback
  • The minutes of the Student Council meetings will be posted in the Student Council section of the Electronic Student Handbook on the moodle home page so you can direct your class to these minutes if they need more detail