Top 5 tips for chairing an effective swim club meeting

Ali Souz

Posted on February 06 2015

Chairing a meeting can be a pleasure or a nightmare. Some people are natural leaders and others really have to work at making their committee meetings effective and efficient. Chairing a swim club meeting is no different from chairing a business meeting. The effectiveness of your meeting will depend on several key factors that we will explore a little deeper in this article.

Sportz Competition Swimwear has come up with an acronym to help you remember the key factors that contribute to effective meeting leadership and the acronym is PADDLE.

  1. Prepare

The single most important thing you can do to ensure an effective meeting is to plan out what you want to happen during the meeting. Create an agenda and goals for the meeting. Start by listing out the goals you need to accomplish during the meeting time. Prioritize those goals and set them into the agenda with the most important goal listed first and end with the least important goal for that meeting. Next consider your meeting timeframe and determine how much of your agenda can be reasonably handled in that timeframe. You may need to move one or more goals to the next meeting or be prepared to move them if time goes faster than expected.

  1. Announce (and Communicate)

An effective meeting depends largely on having a quorum present at the meeting so decisions can be made. As a leader, your job is to announce the meeting well in advance so people have time to adjust their schedules to be able to attend. Committee members should be made aware of the committee meeting no less than three weeks in advance of the meeting. An even better strategy is to set the meeting dates for the entire year so everyone has those dates before the first meeting. Even with all meetings planned in advance you should communicate frequently and remind people of the next committee meeting date. You cannot over communicate. People are busy and forget. These days reminders are easy to send via email, Facebook or SMS – use those tools to your advantage.

  1. Direct and Delegate

A good way to keep committee members interested in club business is to involve them in the planning of the meeting and agenda. Directing the meeting effectively is crucial. If it is the initial meeting of the club, do some brief introductions and consider using an icebreaker so people get to know one another better. Before launching into the agenda, encourage the group to join you in setting meeting ground rules like “no interrupting”, “phones off” or “end on time.” Get “buy in” from all participants for the rules and the agenda. It makes for a smoother, more efficient meeting.

The leader’s job is to keep the discussions on track. Encourage all to participate. However, if someone is digressing or speaking too long gently but firmly pull them back.

Watch the time. Stick to the agreed upon time for each issue or goal. If the group seems to want to prolong the discussion ask the group for permission to extend the time on the issue for another 10 minutes. If the group does not agree then stick with the agenda.

At the end of each issue summarize what you heard the group say and agree to. Move on if all agree.

  1. Logistics

Before the meeting begins make certain the room is properly set up with chairs and table and you have all the necessary equipment you will need such as a white board, markers, water or snacks.

  1. Evaluation

Following the meeting check in with members to get their feedback on the meeting. Did everyone participate equally? Were the goals on the agenda accomplished? Was time respected? Make sure all assignments are communicated effectively in writing, review the minutes and have them sent out to all committee members.

When you follow these guidelines your meetings will run more smoothly and effectively.

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