There are several official and important roles that people can volunteer to play at our meetings. These include: host, facilitator, note-taker & time-keeper. Who will perform which role for an upcoming meeting is normally agreed on at the preceding meeting. Below, each of these roles and associated responsibilities are described:
The host of the meeting is the person(s) who have, graciously & generously, offered up their house as our meeting place. It is not expected that the host provide any more food or beverages than any one else coming to the meeting. Since we sometimes have upwards of 20 people attending, it’s best if the host have a room that can accommodate that many people. The host’s address is never posted on line, but is only sent out to SEA members via the SEA Alerts list serve by the facilitator prior to a meeting along with the agenda.
The facilitator for a meeting is responsible for compiling and sending out the agenda for the upcoming meeting, and providing some guidance during the meeting so that we cover the agenda in a complete and timely fashion. There are various specific responsibilities; the main ones are listed here:
- Work with the notetaker from the previous meeting to compile any agenda items that may have been brought up at the previous meeting, and during the month between meetings keep a list of suggested agenda items.
- Organize the collected agenda items and allocate how much time each will take, in cooperation with the person who proposed and/or will present the agenda item.
- Send out a SEA-alerts email one week prior to the upcoming meeting; it this email, you should:
* layout the tentative agenda with the times for each item
* request any corrections to the agenda, or any additional agenda items (if there’s time open)
* mention who is host, note-taker and time-keeper
* include a reminder of date and start-time for the meeting
* include address and phone number of the host
- Do the facilitator’s work at the meeting:
* Call the meeting to order at the agreed upon start-time (at 6:30pm after a half hour socializing)
* Take a few minutes to announce any events upcoming in the next few weeks that people might like to participate in. (e.g. rallies or volunteer activities, or movies or talks, etc.).
* Get volunteers for host, facilitator, note-taker & time-keeper for the next meeting. This can be done at the beginning or end of the meeting; the advantage of doing it up front is that sometimes its harder to get everything squared away when the meeting is about to adjourn… 😉
* During the meeting, introduce each agenda item, saying who is presenting the item, and what type of item it is: e.g. is it purely informational, or will it require a group decision. Btw, this will also be a factor in how much time should be allocated to the agenda item. Decision items take longer.
* Review the commitments for the next meeting and other action items before closing the meeting.
* To request the guidance for the Facilitator Role and a template for the Agenda, email email@example.com
- Step 1 – Take Notes at Meeting: The Agenda and the list of Upcoming Actions provide most of the content around which the minutes of the meeting can be framed. During the meeting, take notes on the important facts and decisions that related to them. Use the SEA Meeting Notes Template, attached, to take notes during the meeting, as it has blocks that will help you be sure that you have captured the essential info!
- Step 2 – Draft Up Notes: If at all possible, write up a draft of the notes within 24 hours, while memories are fresh! Also, those who missed the meeting will be interested to see them soon after the meeting. When typing up the draft copy of the notes, it will help to refer to and pull from the Agenda and list of Upcoming Actions to add the details of what occurred during the meeting.
- Step 3 – Have Draft of Notes Reviewed: After finishing the draft of the notes, email them as an attachment or put the draft on the blog (pre “publishing”) to the facilitator and anyone who contributed substantially on or led an agenda topic. Give them 2-3 days to review, before publishing to the SEA Change blog. For instructions on how to publish a post, see the blog’s Help page. Be sure to check the Categories for “Meetings” and ”Meeting Notes.” Then, post the information for the next meeting–Date, Host, Facilitator but no addresses, please!–to the blog using the categories for “Meetings” and “Next Meeting.”
- Changes after Posting: Anyone may review the notes and make appropriate changes to your posted meeting notes, if they have more detailed or supplementary information on, or can add clarification to an agenda item. If in doubt about accuracy, check with others before making changes.
- A copy of this information in document format along with a “Notetaker’s Template” can be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The time-keeper’s role is just to keep track of the time elapsed during the discussion of each agenda item and let the facilitator know a minute or so before time’s up, in case the facilitator needs to take any action when it looks like the discussion may go over time. Come to the meeting equipped with a reliable time piece!