Advertise & Remind! Make sure that your meeting dates for the whole year are on the school website and calendar! Post a reminder in the entrance, in the parent pick-up line or any other place you need signage/flyers/emails/social media to remind families that there is a meeting. Remember to send out your Agenda or post it on your website in advance of the meeting.
Be welcoming!!! Appoint a greeter to stand at the entrance. Make a special effort to speak to the general members and NOT your Executive Board as people are arriving.
Wear name badges. Include your position title and perhaps your children's grades.
Provide copies. Put your sign-in sheet and a copy of the Agenda, Budget and Audit Report by the door, so people can help themselves as they arrive.
Arrange the room for conversation. Don't use a separate front table for the Executive Board. Seat yourselves with the rest of your general membership with tables arranged for a group discussion in a circle/square, if you can.
Start/End On Time. Your General Membership meeting should generally not last more than 1 hour. Position yourself so that you can see a clock and try to start and end promptly. Appoint your secretary as time-keeper and consider including a time next to each agenda item to help set expectations.
Stay Neutral & Helpful. Encourage discussion, but do not participate in debate. While hard to do, impartiality is imperative for the group to see you as fair and to feel safe voicing opinions. Start the meeting with an overview of what to expect and any guidelines (e.g. please keep comments to 2 minutes) and remind members that they can ask questions.
Say Thank You. End by recapping what you accomplished and thank all of your members for attending. Remind them that they are key to your success ("we can't do it without you").
Consider Special Touches. Special speakers, door prizes, year long incentives, student presentations, snacks and childcare (e.g. movie in the next room) can all help pull in families! Think about if any of these would be helpful for your school.
Post Your Minutes. Distribute minutes for your Executive Board to review the next day and then post your minutes on your website as soon as possible after your meeting.
Have You Considered Inviting a Guest Speaker?
Bringing in a special speaker, even a specialist from your own school, can be a great way to build attendance as well as provide your families with valuable information to help them advocate for their children. Don't forget to send a thank you note afterwards thanking your special guest for sharing their passion and knowledge with your families.
"Learning to Read at School & Strategies for Home" - w/ Reading Specialist
"Building Math Skills through Fun Games" - w/ a favorite teacher or a specialist