Running Successful Council Meetings
Council meetings are necessary to coordinate successful Knights of Columbus events on campus. Chances are, they’re also the first glimpse of the council your new members will get after receiving their First Degree. Good meetings lead to good events, which in turn lead to the recruitment of more members. For these reasons it is essential that you have productive, engaging and structured meetings. Below we highlight some of the best ways to ensure that your council meetings are a success.
Keep Meetings Short and to the Point
No one enjoys sitting through long meetings, especially college students, who have many other things competing for their time. So, if you want your members to keep showing up, make sure you do not bore them with long meetings filled with irrelevant discussions. How do you keep your meetings shorter? First of all, most event planning should be done at a previous officers meeting or committee meeting.
The more business you take care of at your officer and committee meetings, the less work you will have to do at general meetings. Second, prepare an agenda and stick to it. Having a printed agenda for all attendees will allow you to move quickly from point to point in your meeting. It will keep people from rambling off topic and maintain focus on the issues at hand. An agenda will also ensure that you remember to cover everything that needs to be discussed. Most general council meetings should be 30-45 minutes and should never exceed an hour.
Schedule an Event Immediately after a Meeting
Members are more likely to come and sit through a meeting if they know there is a fun event afterward. Post-meeting events will not only encourage more members to show up for your meetings, but will also force you to end your meetings on time. This goes hand in hand with keeping your meetings short, as people will be less likely to waste time if they’re focused on getting to post meeting event on time. Post-meeting events could include attending Mass, sharing a meal, going to a movie, playing a sport, or attending an already-scheduled campus event.
Direct, don’t Dictate
The grand knight’s job during meetings is to provide direction and facilitate discussion. He should not dominate the conversation, but should include his officer corps into the meeting. He should also involve the entire council and call on officers to give reports of their activities. This not only makes the meeting more interesting, but it also allows the rest of the council to take an active role. If you, as the grand knight, try and do everything yourself, you will find yourself overworked and also alienate council members who may start to feel unrecognized or unappreciated. A successful grand knight does not micromanage the other officers, but instead, provides them with assistance as they perform their roles.
Keep a Regular Meeting Schedule
Meetings should be held regularly and at a consistent time and place. Without this consistency, it would be difficult for members to keep their schedules updated, making it harder for them to regularly attend council meetings. Your council should issue a meeting schedule at the beginning of the semester. This will allow members to plan their other activities around the Knights’ meeting times, and your meetings will become routine. This cannot happen if you do not have a consistent time, day and place for your meetings. Councils should have at least one council business meeting in each month school is in session.
If you Feed Them, They will Come
It is a well-known fact that college students love free stuff, especially food. Wherever free food exists, college students will congregate. Start providing food or snacks before or after your meetings. Something as simple as chips and soda can do the trick. If you are feeling ambitious, have the council collaborate to cook a meal. And there is always the time-proven option of ordering pizza. Nothing allows you to better sell your meetings to people than being able to say you always have free food.
There are a multitude of other ways you can improve your meeting experience, but these are a few of the easiest and most effective. Remember: Less is more. Brief and to-the-point meetings will keep your members engaged and attentive. Good planning and preparations result in a quick, productive meeting and allows you to focus on the activities and programs that drew you to the Knights of Columbus in the first place.