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Feb 05

AV CaptureAll

Managing Public Meetings in Local Government: Key Tips

Posted by AV CaptureAll

Public meetings are vital to a functional local government. They make governments more transparent and allow citizens to participate in their government, making their voices heard on important local issues. Managing those public meetings, however, can often be a headache that feels like more trouble than it's worth for a busy clerk. From creating and getting approval for an agenda, to coordinating a schedule, to recording the meeting and posting minutes, each public meeting can be a major expenditure of time and energy. For that time to be well spent, follow some basic tips to make planning and running your public meetings more efficient.

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STAY ORGANIZED

From making sure the right version of your agenda is approved to having the necessary documents on hand for the meeting itself, organization and preparation are key to making sure your meetings run smoothly. Use a clear naming structure for all documents and track changes whenever possible if multiple people are editing a document. If you need to prepare documents to distribute or display at a meeting, make sure to note them in the agenda to better help you prepare. And maybe most importantly, get everything ready (and approved) well in advance so you're not rushed leading up to the meeting.

“A survey of planners found that "be prepared" was their top piece of advice for meeting facilitators.”

One survey of planners found that "be prepared" was their top piece of advice for meeting facilitators. When the board or committee holding a meeting seems organized and prepared, the other participants feel like the issues under discussion are important and that they will be heard.

STICK TO THE AGENDA

A good agenda is critical to ensuring a meeting achieves its goals. If your agenda is focused, actionable, and clear, it can help all meeting participants stay on track and provide a template for notes and minutes. Make sure the key participants in the meeting have a chance to approve the agenda beforehand to avoid any last-minute changes. You should also note which part of the meeting is open for public comments, so attendees know what to expect.

HAVE A WORKFLOW

Having a set process for planning, executing, and recording each meeting can make your management more efficient. Some tips for a solid workflow include:

  • Use an agenda template to help make writing each meeting's agenda easier
  • Use the right software for your recording and publishing needs, and make sure you understand how to properly use the software
  • Find ways to automate parts of your process
  • Promptly upload meeting recordings and publish minutes after a meeting while it's still fresh in your mind
  • Make sure other staff members understand your workflow in case they need to fill in for you and manage a meeting on their own

USE THE RIGHT SOFTWARE

Using a combination of different programs for meeting management can cause unnecessary confusion and make your management process take much longer than it should. In particular, posting recordings online in a way that's searchable and easy to navigate can be a complicated part of the process. Constituents who want to follow along live with meetings or access recordings later should be able to find all of the information they need at their fingertips. The right software should be able to:

  • Record and stream audio and video
  • Simplify the process of uploading meeting recordings
  • Enable documents like agendas and minutes to be linked to the appropriate meeting recordings
  • Allow meeting recordings and documents to be stored and accessed securely

At AV Capture All, we want to make managing public meetings as straightforward as possible. We offer an easy-to-use solution for recording meetings, publishing recordings with associated documents, and live streaming meetings.

Contact us today for a demo of our solutions or to discuss how we can meet your meeting management needs.

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