The first committee meeting after the AGM provides the opportunity to introduce new committee members, reflect on the role of the committee and how it works. Often committees continue straight on from the business of the meeting prior to the AGM and miss this opportunity. With the support of a good committee orientation process, it does not have to add a lot of extra time to the meeting.
You can use this meeting to introduce new committee members and executive positions as well as review or revise the way the committee has been working. If there have been problems in how previous committee meetings have run, this is a great opportunity to discuss some new methods. It is not necessary to drag out discussion on what did not work, as this will be off putting for new people.
Do allow some time for people to chat informally, think about allowing a bit of extra time and some refreshments for this to take place.
Ask all committee members to introduce themselves, with details such as how long they have been on the committee, why they joined, their interests in the organisation and what skills they bring. (This could take the form of formal or informal group or individual skills audits)
Other ideas for discussion could be:
When should agenda items be submitted and to who?
Are reports circulated and read prior to the meeting?
Is an action list circulated with the minutes?
Are the minutes circulated in time to remind members of
tasks they may have?
How the meeting runs.
What the roles of the different executive positions are.
Are time limits allocated to agenda items and the meeting?
(Is there a time keeper?)
Does the chairperson always chair the meeting?
Are meetings very formal?
Code of conduct.
In an ideal world it could be assumed that as a voluntary group working for the benefit of the community it is not necessary to talk about respect, confidentiality, ethics, loyalty and team decision making. Encouraging an open discussion around everyone’s expectations goes a long way to creating a culture underpinned by these and other important values.
Finally remember how overwhelmed you may have felt as a new committee member; the acronyms, history, previous significant events and decisions that were never really explained. What helped you or could have helped you to feel comfortable and productive?