Effective Service Unit Meetings
Providing effective Service Unit (Leader/Volunteer) Meetings gives the Leader Support Manager and the Service Unit Leadership Team the opportunity to build the leadership skills of adults within the service unit. When facilitating a Service Unit Meeting it is important to keep in mind three key objectives that help produce an effective meeting:
- Create a welcoming atmosphere
- Engage your audience
- Make the time together productive
By focusing on these three goals, your leaders will have a positive experience and feel that their time was well spent. Below are some examples of how to incorporate them into your meetings.
Create a Welcoming Atmosphere
- Have an icebreaker/opener.
- Pair a new leader partner with a mentor leader.
- Designate a greeter to say hello to everyone as they arrive.
- Use name tags.
- Provide beverages and snacks, if possible. (Consider rotating this responsibility, amongst the Service Unit Team Members or troops)
- Start the meeting by thanking everyone for coming and acknowledge any new leaders or volunteers. Remind volunteers that what they are doing is important and how much they are appreciated.
- Provide child care on location, if possible. (Consider inviting CSA troops to help)
Engage Your Audience
- Offer more than an “information dump”, make the meeting interactive.
- Make time in the agenda to share success stories.
- Have a round-table topic at every meeting.
- Have a “take home” item that volunteers can learn and then bring back to their troop. (A song, craft, ceremony, etc.)
- Rotate seating by grade level, schools, new/returning volunteers, etc.
- Invite speakers to the meeting. (Troops or individual Girl Scouts can talk about an event they are planning, Highest Award they are working on, or an experience they want to share.)
Make the Time Productive
- Send out the meeting agenda ahead of time with the meeting reminder. Make the agenda visually clear, and leave some blank spaces for notes.
- Delegate topic reports to different people. (Be sure to let them know ahead of time.)
- Have a Q & A time.
- Ensure the information is timely.
Schedule and Organize Meetings Efficiently
- Distribute a calendar of upcoming meeting dates and activities.
- Include the date of the next meeting at the bottom of the agenda.
- Maintain a consistent schedule; same place, time, day.
- Set event registration deadlines that coincide with service unit meetings.
- Publish upcoming meetings through the service unit’s communication platforms such as social media, newsletter, website, email, etc.
- If leaders miss a meeting, contact them directly to encourage them to send someone to represent their troop if they can’t attend themselves.
Icebreakers are activities to help participants feel at ease and give them a chance to meet one another informally. They can help create a comfortable, non-threatening environment, break down social barriers, and energize the group.
Hosting a virtual meeting? Check out this GSNorCal Trailhead article for 9 digital icebreaker ideas.