When you receive a meeting invite, does your mind immediately seek out any excuse not to attend? I think we’ve all experienced this at some point (whether we openly admit it or not)! Meetings are a normal part of your work life and an expected part of your members’ lives too. Whether in person or remote, the productivity of your meetings has a direct impact on member engagement. Meetings are an easy way to get your members more involved, and there are some ways you can make them a valuable use of everyone’s time, including yourself.
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Here are 5 things you (might) be guilty of doing at your meetings, which are giving your members a good reason NOT to attend.
1. You never divert from the agenda and discuss the same topics repeatedly.
Are you rehashing the same old topics over and over? Do you use the same tired statistics to prove your points, and deliver the same exhausted bullet points to highlight your needs and goals? No wonder no one wants to come! While that same old, same old might be necessary to address, consider discussing it in a new way or, even better, talking about something entirely different.
Challenge yourself to roll out at least one new concept, idea, or goal. Get your members excited about being a part of an organization that’s always looking ahead and wants their members more actively involved. Member engagement is so much easier when there’s a compelling new reason to be a part of your association.
2. You leave things hanging.
How many of you have suffered from bouts of “texting anxiety” from those iPhone texting bubbles? Or maybe it’s just a feeling of suspense when you’re having an important conversation with a friend? It’s the worst, right? Don’t do this to your members. Make an effort to provide closure or regular updates on agenda items so your members are aware of what’s happening at your organization. By providing consistent updates, your members will be more motivated to attend your meetings on a frequent basis.
3. You don’t offer any ways for them to get more involved.
Simply using your meetings to shed light on what’s happening isn’t compelling enough to boost member engagement. What really works is offering members actionable ways to become involved and make a meaningful difference in your organization’s causes. Find different ways for them to contribute. For example, give them a way to contribute financially, but also offer a way to donate their time or skills if donating money isn’t feasible. This gives all members a chance to be more involved and makes them feel wanted. The more ways you provide to help them make a difference, the more members are likely to engage with your important efforts and causes.
4. You hold them hostage in one space.
How often do you conduct your meetings in the same space each time? Sometimes a change of scenery makes all the difference in the world. For more intimate meetings, consider hosting your gathering at a coffee shop, somewhere outdoors, or even in a restaurant. For the large-scale meetings, change up the event locale and make sure people aren’t trapped in the same conference room all day long. (We all need a little sunshine in our lives, right?) Of course, doing this depends on the organization or the size of your member meetings, but you’d be surprised at how a different environment can help with member engagement and spark dynamic conversations.
5. You don’t offer snacks or beverages.
How often have you attended a member meeting that was so drawn out you find yourself pondering about your next meal or snack? When you’re hungry or thirsty during a meeting that seems never-ending, it can be a major distraction and cause you to feel cranky or withdrawn. Depending on the length of the meeting, consider having some healthy snacks and/or drinks on hand. This is an easy way to win over members and to keep them happy, focused, and engaged throughout the day.
Member meetings are an excellent way to increase member engagement at your organization and that’s just one of many ways you can delight your members. Download our 50 Ways to Boost Association Membership to discover more.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2016 and has since been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.