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Historical Note 03 - On scheduling meetings, Wi 2006

The following email was sent to the Co-Chairs, Anna and Carmen, regarding the scheduling fiasco of Winter 2006.


The next quarter needs to be fully scheduled by the Mid-Quarter meeting if the quarter before. Please ask for suggestions on the e-mail list, as well as in person. A successful formula for email has been this:

===

{suitable introductory schlock here}

Please give us an idea of what you'd like to see! What things interest you? A full list of topics that might get your mind working can be found on Mike's website at:

http://www.chronarchy.com/misc/meetingideas.html

And don't think you have to choose from only that list: new ideas are always, always welcome!

If there's something that you would like to teach, please let us know. It's also a great idea to volunteer for a topic, as that's an excellent way to really learn about something that peaks your interest.

Please remember, we draw our workshops from our membership, mostly. Everyone has a skill to teach, and it's good practice and helps us solidify ideas when we teach.

Please email the co-chairs with ideas, or post them to this list.

===

Try that. Passing around a sheet doesn't always get the best result (in fact, it rarely does). And don't take, "Gee, I want to do something but don't know what," for an answer. . . Press them for a firm topic. Tell them that they can later change it, but once they're signed on with a topic, ask them how the topic is going. Like, specifically: ask, "So, Maggie, how's that Brit-Trad Witch presentation doing," rather than, "So, Nick, what presentation are you doing, and how is it coming." Subtly let them know that you're expecting what they originally signed up for.

A person, for example, may really like to say, "Gee, I dunno what I'll do, but I'll do something." Don't put her down on the schedule unless you can get at least a tentative title out of a person. Respond with, "Isn't there anything you'd really like to do? How about *insert something you know she is interested in*? Or something from a class, or something we did this quarter that sparked your imagination?"

Get specifics, not possibilities. Nail them down. Check back three weeks in advance to make sure that you're still go for launch.

Being a Co-Chair doesn't take a lot of work, just the occasional dropping of a line to certain people. And you two need to make sure that you chat back and forth. I'm not sure how much of that you two do, but it doesn't look like a lot, given the miscommunication over the movement of my topic with Brian. Would it help to have five minutes to go over the next three meetings at the beginning of each meeting? Just sorta like this:

"Okay, this two weeks from now is Sexy Magickal Beasts with Nick, next week is Greek Folk Magic with Carmen, and this week is Blue Oyster Cult as Religious Motivator by Anna. Everyone good to go? Excellent: Anna, take it away."

I hate to say it, but if every person in PSA refuses to give a topic, then the Co-Chairs have to do them yourself or get someone from outside to come in and do one. The first responsibility of a Co-Chair is: "The Co-Chairs shall be responsible for planning meetings". That means that the meeting topic, and making sure it goes off, is on your shoulders. If a person drops out, you need a plan.

Brian and I are very willing to help, but it is vital that we meet every Tuesday and that we always *look* like we know what we're doing. Even if we have no frickin' clue. I suspect that Maggie didn't show up last week because there was "nothing planned". It was a small group that was bolstered by irregular attendees. And cancelling this week isn't going to show that we're together and on top of things.

Lack of interest is bred by apparent lack of organization. It's not ever bred by an *actual* lack. Perception is key.

Content 2003-2006, Michael J Dangler
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