Overcoming Common Meeting Challenges
1. Improving Attendance at Meetings
Good speakers can create increased meeting attendance.
Put your most creative members on the meeting planning committee.
Leave one or two meetings open on your calendar to allow for “hot issues” or late-breaking news.
Offer varied programs. Instead of always using a standard meeting structure, offer an occasional tour as a meeting, for example.
Make sure your meeting notice is sent out early.
Establish a calling committee to call members before meetings.
Plan your meetings for an entire year at a time and get comprehensive notices out to your members.
Prepare a wallet card listing your meeting schedule and board members. This allows members to always have their meeting schedule with them.
Send out the minutes of your last meeting with a notice of the next meeting.
Establish personal contact with members that are frequently absent from meetings.
Have a drawing for a door prize to encourage attendance.
Establish regular meeting dates and times.
Evaluate whether your meeting location and/or time is convenient for members – consider a chapter survey to gain insight from your chapter membership.
2. Improving Attendance at Social Functions
Remember that social functions are one of many ways to strengthen a chapter, but they aren’t necessary to create a successful chapter or run productive meetings.
Don’t overuse social functions. They can be useful for recruiting members, but follow-up with strong technical programs.
Consider installing incoming officers and committee members at a social/business function.
Evaluate the timing of the social functions. If they are held at a time that conflicts with other popular events, attendance at the meeting may suffer.
Consider social functions that could include families, especially during the summer months. Summer functions help establish community within a chapter, and when families get to know each other it often strengthens bonds within the chapter.
Events with spouses that include dances are often successful, but look for variety in your events. Consider options such as dinner theaters, comedy clubs, riverboat rides, spectator sports, participatory sports like golf or softball, concerts, plays, etc.
3. Finding Motivating and Interesting Speakers
Solicit meeting topics and speakers from your members.
Get leads from your members with good business contacts.
Identify issues and then look for speakers to address these issues.
Look to associate members as speakers.
Industry “old timers” and local historians can provide interesting historical information about the industry years ago.
Ask members with strong leadership skills to serve as program managers.
Plan meetings far in advance in order to allow time to find good speakers.
Use monthly board meetings as meeting planning sessions.
4. Controlling the Cost of Meetings
Moving from a hotel to a private hall or club may save money.
Look for a free banquet hall that may offer a trade of goods and services.
Limit the number of drink tickets or eliminate tickets and use a cash bar.
Gain better control of the number of people attending a meeting so meals are not provided for no-shows. This can be done through a calling committee that confirms attendance or advance payment for meals.
Switch from a “plated” service where each member is served by a waiter/waitress to a buffet.
Hold lunch meetings instead of dinner meetings.
Consider soliciting sponsors to offset the cost of meetings.
Add a surcharge for non-members attending your meetings. Doing this makes GEAPS membership a benefit and encourages non- members to join.
5. Avoiding an Unsuccessful Associates Night
Join forces with another chapter and have a joint trade show. Keep your meeting and show in the same room.
Limit Associates Night exhibiting privileges to GFAPS Associate members.
Survey Regular and Associate members to find out what they want in an Associates Night meeting.
Add speakers or brief educational sessions to your show.