What’s the purpose of a tenant meeting?
Meetings can help to get things done as a group that cannot or should not be done alone. Meetings can help identify issues and set goals, provide people with information through presentation or reports, assign responsibilities for particular things, and identify new volunteers. Meetings are the place to make decisions that affect everyone. Meetings can also be social events and a chance to get to know one another better.
The best meetings are those that make people feel that they got something by coming, such as information, ideas, supports, or a plan. A good meeting lets people know they have something to do when they leave, like recruit new members, make phone calls, or go door-knocking. Also, the best meetings will make people want to come back to the next one. People will not come back to meetings if they feel they are a waste of time. Avoid meetings that will scare people away, plan your meetings very carefully.
How do we get people to come to meetings?
One thing that will help get people to come to your meetings is to hold them at a convenient time and place. If you hold your meetings on the same day of each month, at the same time and at a regular place, people will know what to expect. Make your meetings fun! Server refreshments, hold a raffle, or bring in a guest speaker. make sure you announce these events on your meeting notice. People will be more likely to come to your meetings if you get things done and have some fun. Make sure you formally invite people with a flyer and a conversation.
People like to come to meetings if they know their help is needed and if they feel that it is an important use of their time. Make it easy for people to come to your meetings by providing day care so that parents can attend. Consider awarding a prize to the tenant who brings the most other tenants to the meeting!
Resources for meeting outreach:
How do we plan meetings and write an agenda?
To plan a successful meeting, form a small committee to help you plan it. When you are planning your meeting you will want to think about the following things:
- Publicizing the date, time and location of the meeting to get out flyers with plenty of advance notice.
- Knock on doors or call people to make sure they are coming to the meeting.
- Let everyone know why this meeting is important, and how it fits in with what the group is doing.
Make sure to write a meeting agenda before the meeting so that everyone will know what is going on at the meeting. The agenda is an outline of everything that you plan to discuss at the meeting, printed on the agenda should also be time limits for each topic. You may also want to outline what decisions need to made regarding each time. Print your agenda and pass it out to the residents at the beginning of the meeting so that everyone can stay focused on what is happening.
Think about proposals for each part of the agenda in advance so that you can give the group some ideas on how to act on the proposals. Leave time to approve changes to the agenda at the start of the meeting and time for general discussion at the end of the meeting. Limit your meeting to one or two hours, people may lose interest if a meeting runs any longer than that.
Here is a checklist for how to structure a typical tenant meeting:
- Introduce yourself and welcome everyone
- Distribute and discuss the agenda and the rules for the meeting, for example, who is chairing, when questions will be taken, how votes will be held, how much time you will spend on each item.
- Review the purpose of the meeting and remind people of what has happened since the last meeting and what will have to be decided at this meeting. Recognize people and thank them for the work they did since the last meeting.
- Allow time for discussion of issues
- Keep the tone of the meeting upbeat and focused
- Give everyone something to do when they leave the meeting, like telling someone else what happened at the meeting, have them handout a newsletter or a flyer, or bringing someone else to the meeting next time.
- Summarize the major points of the meeting and review agreements people made to do things
- Set your next meeting time and choose a chairperson for that meeting.