PTA meetings may be board meetings, executive committee meetings, committee meetings or general meetings. Check your unit’s bylaws to determine how many of each type of meeting is necessary. In general, only those individuals who belong to the group (board or committee or general membership) need to be at that meeting.
No matter what the type, meetings should provide information, inspiration and instruction for local members. General meetings are open to all PTA members and they have the privilege of introducing motions and voting. These privileges are limited to members of your PTA. To ensure that you are covering everything in your meetings, take the PTA Basics course.
For best results, schedule meetings that are convenient for your membership, stay on task, and start (and end) on time. If the attendees feel something significant was accomplished and their time was valued, they will come back. Poll members to find out when is the best time to hold a meeting. You will increase your members’ participation if the meetings are held at a time that is convenient for the majority of members. If yours is a school-based unit, consider meeting outside the school building in order to attract parents who might not be comfortable in a school setting.
If you chair the meeting, you are the leader. First, confirm that the meeting was called for a specific purpose. Then, direct all conversation at the meeting to address this purpose.
The primary role of the president during meetings is to act as facilitator, to organize and conduct the business of the PTA. The primary role of the board is to come prepared and assist the president in working through the agenda. Good meetings stay on track, follow an agenda, and run smoothly so that all members feel welcome and able to participate. Effective facilitators are viewed as fair and unbiased. Build your parliamentary skills and learn more about effective meeting facilitation. A sample meeting agenda and guidelines for facilitation are provided in this guide.
Effective meetings require preparation, facilitation, inspiration and results.
Preparation means you come to the meeting ready to state the purpose and agenda.
Facilitation means the leader (or chair) keeps the meeting on time and on track, allowing input from the group appropriately.
Inspiration means you incorporate activities that engage participants and generate discussion, and you use visual aids to grab attention.
Results mean that the meeting achieves one or more outcomes. Share the results to keep participants connected to the work of your PTA.
The president controls whether a meeting gets side-tracked, is dominated by one individual, loses focus, or starts and ends on time. Effective boards cooperate with the president to ensure an effective meeting. A meeting that is well-run, starts and ends on time, stays focused and gets things done is desired by all who attend. Want meeting attendance to grow? Run an effective meeting.
PTA surveys tell us that members want to know why they are meeting, feel like their time was used well making decisions and feel like they accomplished something with the time they spent at the meeting. Consider adding social time before or after the meeting so that those on busy schedules feel their time is well-used, and those who want to socialize have time to network. Consider summarizing what was accomplished at the end of each meeting so attendees leave with an understanding that their time was well-spent.