Learn how to ace your next community meeting using this simple guide: the true purpose of a community meeting, how to overcome challenges, and free sample meeting agenda templates.
A methodology for amazing meetings. Say goodbye to boring, long, and unproductive meetings.
Community meetings represent the coming together of strangers to work on a communal project, whether that be a passion project in the local community, a university society, or a group of volunteers. No matter what form of community you’ve built, from time to time, you’re going to have to get everyone together for a meeting.
Meetings act as a useful space for discussion, as their quick lines of communication make them great for telling lots of people ideas at once. But, community meetings, with the potentially large number of participants, can pose a bit of a problem.
In this article, we’ll be walking you through the following topics:
Let’s get started.
Unlike a business meeting, a community meeting is a publicly held forum, allowing anyone that’s a part of a larger organization or local group to join. These meeting types could be run by any number of people or organizations, including churches, schools, non-profits, and private clubs.
Quite simply, a community meeting provides a forum in which everyone can come together to share ideas, discuss the organization itself, and plan future events. If these meetings are completely public, they often take much longer than a business meeting would. Especially when directly chatting with the general public, you’ll be hearing a lot of different opinions that could last for quite some time.
Even so, community meetings are a vital space for those looking to organize a large number of people. Meetings are a unique way of information sharing, providing an accessible means of communication and consensus-building that anyone can tune into.
Community meetings come with their own territory of difficulties. While other meeting formats normally have a structure that is repeated across the business, these require more forethought to make sure they are as effective as possible.
Due to the many different types of meetings that can fall under the umbrella of a community meeting, we’ll be outlining some general problems that are likely to arise:
Let’s break these down further.
Especially when running a community meeting for a public group, it’s difficult to ensure that everyone actually turns up to your meeting. There is nothing more frustrating than preparing a meeting agenda with a range of action items lined out, only for no one to actually show up.
While community meetings are notoriously low on the attendance scale, there are a few tactics that you can incorporate to ensure that more people come. We suggest that you:
When you follow these three tips, it will become much easier for your attendees to access your meeting discussion. Especially if the topic you’re going to be talking about is particularly important, it’s a good idea to do everything you can to make sure that people attend.
One of the most important parts of running meetings effectively is ensuring that your team members are comfortable. To do this, send out invites well in advance, attach an agenda to let them know what’s going on, and follow up with meeting notes to wrap up everything nicely.
When running a community project, whether that be an after-school meeting, a book club, or one of several committee meetings, you’ll have a lot of different schedules to think about. Because everyone works at different companies and has different working hours, you might struggle to find a time in which everyone is free.
To mitigate confusion, you should send out potential time slots beforehand, with an announcement that as many people as possible should respond. Doing this via an electronic poll system will ensure that you can pick the date when most people are free. Although it would be great to have everyone attend, the simple fact is that conflicting agendas could make this impossible.
Planning your event for the hour of the week where most people are free will help increase the number of participants that can be of attendance.
While some communities will have a town hall where everyone can gather, many don’t. Especially if your community is based across larger distances, finding a middle ground location may be more difficult than you first thought.
To overcome this, we heavily recommend moving your next meeting online. Without the commute that all of your community members have to make, it’ll be much easier for everyone to attend. Additionally, with the online tools that send agendas and attach meeting notes like Hugo, you’ll be able to run your meeting effectively without the hassle.
If you haven’t already, fire up the PC, send out your invites, and move your community meeting online.
A community meeting agenda template should be complex enough that all the points you’re going to cover are written down, but not so complex that users take one look and say, “Well, I’m not reading that.”
To keep it simple, we’ve split this community meeting agenda into 4 steps:
These four Is — Introduce, Issues, Ideas, Items — will give you a rough structure that you can build upon. By including these four facets, everyone attending the meeting will know exactly why they’re there.
If you’re seeking ideas, use the power of community to generate them, brainstorming as a group. Although this can take some time, the number of people you’re dealing with can also act as a benefit, as you’ll have more people thinking of solutions.
Any meeting, whether business or community, should end with action items. These will give everyone a clear understanding of exactly what they’ll be doing going forward, demonstrating how this meeting has been useful in overcoming a particular issue.
If you don’t love the style of this community meeting agenda, take a browse through the 80+ free meeting templates that are offered by Hugo. Although these are mostly for team meetings agenda templates, you’ll be able to take inspiration from them and pull an agenda item from here and there to customize a final meeting agenda template that you love.
You’ll be able to move through different categories until you find a simple agenda that works for you. With a few edits, these can easily become the perfect meeting agendas for your community meetings, no matter what organization you’re scheduling for.
By following the tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a fantastic community meeting for your organization.
Truly effective meetings are actually born long before the meeting date, even before invites are sent out.
An all-hands meeting is usually the biggest, longest, least frequent, most important meeting your company has. Nail your next one with this guide.