Working in the voluntary sector
Working in the voluntary sector

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Working in the voluntary sector

Week 6: Effective meetings


Meetings are used to coordinate and plan work, to make decisions, to monitor progress, to consult with volunteers or users of the organisation’s services, to give support and for many other reasons.

In the past, meetings often took place in formal settings, such as offices and meeting rooms, and nearly always involved people meeting ‘face to face’. Times have changed though, and you have probably experienced sitting in a café hearing people nearby taking part in a meeting via their mobile phone or laptop.

There is much more flexibility now, but does this mean people find meetings more effective? The chances are that people still complain about having too many meetings, as well as ones that accomplish little. When resources are tight and people have too much work to do they may feel that yet another meeting is unhelpful.

However, meetings do not have to be a bad experience. During this week you will engage in a variety of activities and tasks to help you think about what can be done to make meetings more effective and enjoyable.

Start by watching this video in which Julie Charlesworth introduces you to Week 6.

Download this video clip.Video player: volb2_week6-640x360.mp4
Skip transcript


Welcome to Week 6. Last week you explored the key role of fundraising. This week, you will learn about taking part in or chairing meetings.
Meetings are an inevitable part of organisational life, and they happen at all levels of organisations and can involve paid staff as well as volunteers. You will look at the strengths and weaknesses of different types of meetings and find out what makes a meeting effective. You’ll draw on your own experience of being in meetings as a participant or chairing a meeting. It’s also important to explore alternatives to traditional face-to-face meeting as teams become more dispersed and online meeting methods become available.
By the end of this week you’ll have learnt how meetings can work well or less well. And you’ll also have some practical ideas to apply to your own work or volunteering.
End transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • analyse and describe the strengths and weaknesses of meetings you are familiar with
  • distinguish between different types of meeting and the activities that are appropriate in each
  • plan what you need to do to prepare for a meeting in which you are to take part
  • explain what is involved in being an effective chair, secretary or participant in a meeting
  • analyse your own strengths and weaknesses when taking part in meetings and what you might do to address any weaknesses
  • know what is involved in recording and following up on meetings.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371