How often have you attended GB meetings that went on for hours, lost track of what they were supposed to be talking about, got stalled while people read the papers...?
Well, here are a few tips that have worked for me in keeping meetings focussed (and not just governor meetings, I use these tips in my 'professional' arena as well:
- It all starts with planning (Remember the 6Ps - "Proper Planning Prevents P*** Poor Performance").
- Well in advance of the meeting, go through the previous minutes and follow up any actions - is a report-back needed? If so put it on the Agenda. Try to avoid Matters Arising by having any follow-ups as specific agenda items.
- Establish what other Reports (Committees, Working Parties...) are needed and brief the reporter to provide a short written report to which they can speak at the meeting (I do not like verbal reports, althought they are inevitable sometimes).
- Circulate all FGB members a very rough draft agenda asking for additions/amendments
- Omit "Any other Business" - if it's not important enough to raise beforehand then it's not important.
- Finalise the Agenda by deciding how long each item might take, who will lead it and what the point (Discuss, Decide, Information) of the item is; write a sentence or so about each item explaining what it's there for - so now people have more of an idea what will be expected of them.
- Put at the top of every Agenda "To speed progress and improve the discussion, we will expect all papers to have been read in advance of the meeting" and do not give time in the meeting for those who have not done so!
- Put at the bottom of every Agenda "How have we helped improve the chances for our pupils during this meeting" - and discuss it; this will help focus people on what really matters (and it's generally not the trivia that too many meetings get bogged down with!)
- You might want to do the Clerk's job for them by getting all the papers together - it's a good way of finding out how organised everyone is (HT included - they are the professional who knows well in advance when the meeting is and ought to be well prepared!). No paper for circulation 7 days in advance = not on Agenda.
Try these tips, it's a bit of a hassle at first but the message soon gets through and your meetings will go more smoothly.
Look out for the next post on the meeting itself...