by JP Cannon/ January 26, 2017
Over the years, the term “Parent Meeting” has meant parent workshops about hot topics, program and policy changes, open house meet and greets, and private one-on-one meetings. No matter what the reason, the truth is no one likes “meetings.” But that doesn’t mean they have to be lame wastes of time either.
One year getting ready for camp, I was trying to figure out how to make the parent meeting more efficient. Every year parents would miss the meeting and I would find myself repeating the same information over and over until the week before we left for camp. I remember having this light bulb go off. I started asking myself why I hadn’t considered the idea before. I decided to film all of the information and use it as a chance to show examples of what I was talking about. It took some work and involved extra people, but the payoff was great! The information parents needed was available, and for the first time in years I didn’t have to repeat myself over and over.
Going digital helped parents out too. It may come as a surprise, but they don’t want another meeting either. A great result was that it also drove traffic to our social media accounts and helped parents connect even better.
Going over details and information for camp is not the only reason you will have a parent meeting. Regardless of the reason you need to meet with parents, here are a few tips to make your next parent meeting a success:
Don’t waste the parent’s time, and don’t make yourself look incompetent. Make an agenda for what you want to discuss and stick to it. You should consider all of the information that has to be shared. Run your agenda by some of your core leaders, and ask if there is anything you missed or potential questions that could come up.
Make sure the meeting is advertised well and the reason for the meeting is clear. The information you need to share should be readily available. If you and your parents prefer printed copies, plan to have extra.
Don’t let the time drag on by keeping responses to questions concise and clear. You need to set and stick to your start time and have a definite end time. Don’t take up time stating information that has already been made available.
Be available afterwardPlan to stay after to address specific questions and connect with parents. There will always be questions that parents don’t feel like asking in a large-group setting. As you field questions, make physical or mental notes. Once you get time afterward, post the question and response in the comments on your video or group on social media.