Neighborhood meetings, if run effectively, allow residents to learn, discuss and solve problems together. To ensure residents feel like they have made a contribution and that the meeting is worth their time, consider these tips:
- Set goals. Think about why you are having the meeting. Does the organization need to make decisions? Do committee assignments need to be made to accomplish a larger goal?
- Set up a meeting time and location. If your organization meets frequently, establish a standard, central meeting place, date and time. Weeknight meetings after 6:30 tend to have the best attendance. (Meeting Facilities/Guest Speaker Request Form)
- Prepare an agenda. The agenda should be designed to help you meet your goals. Each topic should have a time limit, and the name of the person addressing the topic. Limit the meeting to one and a half hours. (Agenda Request Form)
- Decide who should attend. If the goal of the meeting is to plan an event or special activity, perhaps only the steering committee needs to attend. If the goal is to solve a neighborhood issue, invite the entire neighborhood.
- Advertise the meeting. If everyone is invited, call your neighbors or prepare a flier that is simple, yet eye-catching. If only the steering committee is meeting, mail a reminder notice or make phone calls. (Flier Request Form)
- Set up the meeting space. Arrange tables and chairs so they are conducive to discussion. Set up displays or set out handouts before the meeting starts. Offer refreshments.
- Facilitate the meeting. Have someone welcome attendees as they sign in. Start the meeting on time and stick to the agenda. Take notes/minutes. Encourage participation. Treat everyone with respect and remain open-minded. Conclude the meeting on a positive note and thank everyone for attending.
- Follow up. Distribute meeting minutes within 48 hours. Confirm assignments/deadlines with a phone call or memo. Acknowledge help and significant contributions by others. Identify ways to improve the meeting and attendance.