It’s the first week of school for colleges on the West Coast, so I wanted to post a reminder on the importance of holding a solid informational meeting:
In addition to preparing an excellent recruitment strategy and a calendar of events, take the time to plan out your informational meeting. It is often under-accentuated, but plays a key role in determining the presence your club will have on campus that year. A well thought out informational meeting can enhance your recruitment efforts, whereas a weak meeting can render them completely pointless. You do, after all, only get one chance to make a first impression.
Lucky for you, though, the informational meeting is a straightforward, uncomplicated event.
To get your meeting underway, you are already on the way to success by simply planning something. I cannot even begin to recount the number of new clubs I considered joining but left immediately because the president would try to improvise their first meeting of the year. It is unprofessional and usually relatively obvious that you did not take the time to prepare.
Pick a location that is easily accessible by your students. A coffee shop can work fine, but ideally you want a classroom on campus that you can decorate and make your own. Additionally, this sets your club up for consistency if new members have a mental picture of where your group will be meeting throughout the semester.
When you have a location settled, there are some materials that you will want to have with you at your meeting:
- Calendar for the year
- Group handouts and fliers
- PowerPoint or Video detailing your group’s philosophy
- A sign or banner
- Sign-up sheets to get names, phone numbers and email addresses from all attendees
“But what do we talk about?” Below is a simple, but effective agenda you can use for your informational meeting:
- Introductions and “What is [club name]?”
- Group philosophy
- Immediate goals (how many members do you want to recruit? How many events do you want to have?, etc.)
- Announce your upcoming activities
- Ask the audience why everyone is there (gives you an idea of where to go for the semester)
The informational meeting does not need to be complicated. However, it does need to be planned. The overall goal is to make your group appear to be a well-oiled machine. You need to have the new members want to stay involved because they believe there is a plan for activity. If you take the time to do this, you increase your chances of new members becoming active members.