I wrote recently about decruitment, and a what stops coming newbies coming back [loads of useful comments after it!]. And other smarter people than me have written about “the activity meeting” and “the agenda-less meeting.”
Here are 11 commandments…
Do NOT start on time – god forbid we set an example of being serious and business-like
Do NOT have tea and coffee and biscuits for people. People do not need drinks, which cost money, and might encourage people to start chatting with each other.
Do NOT supply name badges. Everyone should have to remember everyone’s name. We’re not here to get to know each other a bit better.
Do NOT put up a legible agenda. If people have poor eyesight, then they should get better glasses or stay at home.
Do NOT include as a standing item on the agenda “liaison with and learning from other (non-topic) groups.” Eventually everyone else will see the error of their ways and the wisdom of ours. If we’ve time we’ll take some flyers to their meetings. There is no point cluttering up our agenda.
Do NOT extend the warm-up beyond a name go round. People don’t want to hear about other people’s skills, recent experiences, availability. And people do NOT need a way of shifting from their workaday head to their activist head
Do NOT start the meeting with an emphatic welcome and thank you to people for coming. As hardened activists, everyone should know that virtue is its own reward. And if they aren’t tough enough to keep coming back to meetings without some scraps of encouragement, then they’re not fit for purpose. A revolution isn’t a kindergarten, comrades!
Do NOT start the meeting with some brief interesting or significant facts from around the world. People can get what they need from the mainstream media. Or from our weekly publication. Paper, comrade?
Do NOT continue the meeting with a brief recap on what the group has been involved in recently.
Do NOT do a straw poll about what people already know or think about the issue at hand before launching into a lengthy, jumbled personal disquisition (or is that inquisition?) on an issue that is complex, technical and cannot be decided tonight anyway because the meeting is not quorate.
Do NOT acknowledge the arrival of a late comer, and ask them to say what their name is. If they’ve turned up late they obviously aren’t reliable or serious enough to be of use to anyone else in the room.
If you do all this, then do NOT be surprised when someone uses the law of two feet…