Making the Most of Meetings

April 27, 2019

By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA, CIC

In athletic departments, there are different types of and reasons for holding meetings. Some are informational in nature and are held for parents, coaches and various constituents of the program. There are also times in which an athletic administrator is looking for input in the form of suggestions, ideas or solutions.

Since the purpose of these meetings is to find the best possible approach or solution, you want them to be planned and organized to produce the best results and solicit the greatest input. The following are some ideas for making meetings more effective. 

  1. Always provide those who are going to attend the meeting the purpose for it along with a few questions ahead of time which you will use to guide the discussion. This provides the coaches, parents or whoever is involved a chance to think about the issues beforehand. In this manner, you will get more thoughtful and in-depth responses. It is rare to get great answers and ideas off the top of one’s head, and your ultimate goal is to get outstanding, helpful suggestions.

  1. Understand that some individuals may naturally want to be heard in the meeting. It is important that you, therefore, monitor the contributions from these individuals and to encourage others who may be quiet in nature to also offer their thoughts. Try to hear from as many individuals as possible.

  2. Be very careful not to insert your point of view, even if asked, into the discussion. It is extremely important to remember that you asked the attendees to provide input. You want additional, perhaps creative, different ideas. This is not a meeting in which you are trying to convince or influence the group. Your role is to facilitate the conversation and to solicit the greatest number of new, unique ideas as possible.

  3. Try to have someone take notes so that you have a record of the good suggestions that were offered. After having a good, thoughtful discussion, you don’t want to take the chance of forgetting or missing anything of value.

  4. Provide those who attended the meeting the opportunity to send you additional ideas or suggestions which may occur to them on the way home or in the following days. The discussion could, and hopefully does, create additional elements or aspects that will cause some to continue their creative thought process. And, of course, e-mail is a good easy way for everyone to send along any new and original suggestions.

  5. Always thank everyone for attending the meeting and offering helpful ideas. If any of the suggestions are ultimately incorporated in the final product, give individuals credit for their contributions. By doing this, you should get very good participation if you need to take this approach in the future.

With a little thought and planning, meetings in which you seek input from others can be much more effective and the end result may be better solutions.

 

David Hoch retired in 2010 after a 41-year career as a high school athletic director and coach. In 2009, Dr. Hoch was honored as the Eastern District Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. He was also presented with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Distinguished Service Award, and in 2000 he was named the Maryland State Athletic Director Association’s Athletic Director of the Year. Dr. Hoch has authored over 460 professional articles and made more than 70 presentations around the country. He welcomes comments and questions and can be reached at: [email protected]

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