Are you worried about running your first PTO meeting?
Maybe even having nightmares about it?
I’ll be honest… as if you were here for any other reason!
If you want to have a good first meeting, there are a few things to keep in mind.
It’s natural to be nervous.
But that shouldn’t stop you from having a good experience running the meeting.
It’s All About Confidence
Woman, stop it right now if you think your first meeting is going to be a disaster.
For one thing, that’s not true!
You have to be a little more confidence here.
You know what you’re doing.
True, you probably don’t know every single little thing about how to run a PTO.
But you do know some of the most important things…
How to be a real person!
Cause it’s what got you elected in the first place!
If you were nominated by others, then you should feel great about the fact that they had faith in you that you could handle the position.
What’s more, the rest of the group agreed, as a majority voted for you to take on the position!
And if you self nominated, then you already know you can handle what it takes to be President.
That’s why you volunteered in the first place!
A Pep Talk
You’ve got this!
If you don’t know it, you can learn it!
What to know why I know you can handle the meeting?
For one, you found this blog!
And that means you now have access to even more information about best practices about running your PTO and the best practices for Presidents.
Check your Ego
It’s not all about you.
I know this sounds totally harsh, but it is so true!
In reality, people are pretty much focused on WHAT you’re saying.
And once you realize that everyone is not paying attention to YOU, but rather the information you’re sharing, it’ll make it a lot easier to calm your nerves.
Even if you mispronounce a word or stumble over your words it’ll be ok.
People are not expecting perfection.
Just do your thing and people will appreciate your contribution.
Don’t be a Know It All
If you know the answers to questions being posed, that’s cool.
Go ahead and answer it.
But it’s okay to NOT know something.
No one is going to expect you to know everything.
In fact, you don’t need to be the answer person for everything and everyone.
You’re not the mouthpiece of the PTO.
Make sure to defer to relevant Officers and Committee Chairs.
If you aren’t, that could lead to morale problems (they could feel like their contributions aren’t valued, making them less likely to stay involved).
You’re Not the Sole Decision Maker
Let me drive this point in even more…
PTO Presidents are also not the sole decision maker.
Only dictators have that honor and you never want to have that role, so never let your opinion be the last word on any topic.
Similarly, people should not be looking to you for all of the answers.
If people do seems to always ask you for an answer, especially during a meeting, put it back out onto the group and ask them what they want to do.
The President’s Role During Meetings
Along with what I said earlier in this post, iff you think that being President means that you’ll do most of the talking, think again!
Time to reframe your role to better suit reality.
The very best thing you can do for your group to make meetings go well is to act as the group facilitator of the discussion.
Presidents really shouldn’t be driving the discussion.
Instead, Presidents should keep the meeting moving along in line with the agenda to ensure meetings aren’t taking 2 hours.
How to Best Facilitate Discussion
In your role as President, you’ll need to keep in mind that you’re solely responsible for making sure the agenda items are covered.
And sometimes that goal can get stymied by a controversial topic.
So how to handle that?
First, try to give everyone their say.
But if you hear same point about 3 times with no new information, it’s time to end the discussion.
Jump in and ask if the group is ready to vote on the topic since no new information is being expressed.
Give the option of tabling the issue until next month so that so that more information can be gathered for an informed decision.
Don’t just table something for the sake of tabling it.
If there’s enough information right now to decide, then get the issue to a vote.
Goals for the Meeting
Here are some quick and dirty goals for meetings:
- Cover meeting agenda
- No one falls asleep- keep meeting to one hour or less
- Drama free (this doesn’t mean everyone agrees on everything!)
- Time for social time afterward
Need even more guidance?
If you’re looking for even more support and guidance about running meetings, then look no further than the How to Run a Meeting e-book.
It comes with an agenda template to make sure you