I encourage you to find focus with a strategic meeting agenda. (This is a great opportunity as we consider what meetings and events will be like in a non-quarantined world.) All too often meetings include too many issues or discussion topics. Strategic meetings feel valuable. They encourage all voices to be heard. Strategic meetings can be in-person, virtual, or by phone.
I urge you to consider your last nonprofit board or staff meeting. Did you give time to connect to the mission of why you had gathered? Did you have enough time to meaningfully explore the issue(s) at hand? If you answered yes to both – congrats!! If not, consider these tips.
Strategic Meeting Agenda Tips:
- First, give time to start your meeting with a reminder of why you gathered. Bonus points for a reminder that can also help build trust for the group, strengthen connection, or provide a moment for self-care. Find focus for the meeting and build shared understanding at the start of the conversation.
- Next, make sure you budget the right amount of time for the meeting (whether virtual or in person) and provide information in advance for preparation. Not enough time encourages rushed decisions and discourages thoughtful discussion while meetings that ask for more time than they need fail to recognize the value of each member’s work time. (And don’t forget that Zoom fatigue is real and break time is more important than ever in 2021.)
- Don’t forget to revisit your strategic goals, meeting focus and expectations throughout the conversation. Use a parking lot for follow up items and resist the temptation to add one more thing.
- Finally, develop an agenda template for groups that meet regularly including your mission, priorities, and other key information. These serve as helpful reminders for important decisions and explorations of exciting opportunities – does the opportunity help advance our priorities? what decision best aligns to our mission?