Skills for effective meetings

Local meetings are a place for members to gather to learn about the activities of the union and to participate in the democratic process of directing the business of the local.

What makes a good meeting?

A good meeting is a planned meeting. Members appreciate an effective chairperson.

  • Start on time
  • Prepare and follow the agenda
  • Keep speakers on topic
  • Follow the Rules of Order
  • Make sure everyone can participate
  • Keep order, but do not shut people down
  • Encourage discussion by listening to one speaker at a time so each member will be heard
  • Watch what works – you may develop unique ideas that work for your local
  • Meeting room is accessible, has good acoustics, and seating arrangement is effective and conducive to discussion.

Getting members to meetings

There are many ways to connect with members and encourage them to attend union meetings. Experiment with your local and see what works. Here are some ideas:

  • Make personal contact and send out meeting reminders
  • Distribute a membership survey to find what day, time and location works best for the majority of the local members
  • Set up an email distribution list or Facebook event
  • Walk around your facility to introduce yourself while “mapping your local.” Get contact information to send meeting notices, explain what will be discussed at the next meeting, find out what issues they are facing in the workplace and encourage their attendance to learn more from a guest speaker, such as a servicing rep. This is also a great opportunity to identify the natural leaders in each department who can help you share the information.
  • Produce newsletters or individual leaflets to promote the meeting
  • Invite guest speakers to share information about benefits, community events and activities, local political campaigns or human rights issues
  • Hold special celebration days, have draws or door prizes. The HEU Boutique has excellent items that promote membership pride in their union
  • Provide refreshments or dinner at the meeting
  • Provide dependent and child care options for the meetings
  • Show films or videos

Find more ideas, and guidelines about running good meetings in the HEU Chairpersons' Manual.