District & Society Meetings
Sections that support the attendance of their elected officers at District and Society meetings are making a concrete investment in the Section's future. These meetings provide excellent training into the how's and why's of the Society.
District Leadership Conference
The District Leadership Conference is an annual meeting for the purpose of informing and training incumbent, incoming and potential Section leaders.
Three times each year, in the winter, summer and fall, the Society President convenes the working committees of the Society for four or five days of concentrated meetings. The basic purpose of these meetings is to plan the Society's direction and to adopt guiding policies. In addition to providing a forum to conduct Society business, the meetings also provide an opportunity for new ISA leaders to be introduced to Society structure, operations, and activities through numerous leader orientation sessions.
Special sessions identified as "Lead Sessions (LDR)" are held. These sessions address the needs of Section officers and provide basic information about the various aspects of Society Operations. Examples of the sessions are: Section Finances, Section Leaders Roundtable, and Parliamentary Procedure.
Annual Meeting of Council of Society Delegates
Each Section in ISA designates a member to act as its Society Delegate. The Council of Society Delegates meets during, or just preceding the week of, and in the same place as the Annual Meeting of the Society. This meeting traditionally is held in conjunction with the fall event.
The Council of Society Delegates controls the general policies of the Society through its powers to nominate and elect Officers, to amend the Bylaws and to receive and review the Annual Reports of the President, President-elect Secretary and Treasurer; and to act or advise on general policies for the Society.
The Section meeting is the most important activity in the Section. How often the Section meets is up to the Section leadership; however, Sections are expected to meet at least three times each year. Section meetings are important because:
- they are the best way for members to get involved
- they are part of the Section's retention efforts
- they are a way to recognize and orient new members
- they are a chance for members to meet the leaders in the field
- they are a chance to update members on ISA activities
- they are a great recruitment tool
- they are the most viable form of continuing education
- they provide peer contact and business opportunities
- they can - and should be - FUN!
Leaders need to ensure that the meetings are well-planned and well-executed.
Here are some general guidelines for better Section meetings.
1. The Meeting
One way to produce good meetings is to break the meeting into several parts and consider each part as a separate function. Assign a different person to each function, thereby distributing the work and avoiding the need for the Program Chair to have too much to do at each meeting. Specific suggestions for ways to manage each part of the meeting are listed in the Program Chair's Guide. These meeting parts include:
It's important that the facility be compatible with the type of meeting. Section leaders should inform the facility manager what the Section needs to hold the best possible meeting, and make certain that the facility can fulfill those needs. That way the facility becomes a "partner" in the success of the meeting. It's also a good idea to get to the facility well before the meeting to check out all aspects of the meeting site.
B. Gathering/Registration Period
The need to meet and talk with other measurement and control professionals is partially met through a structured gathering period prior to the official start of the meeting. As part of registration there should also be a way to identify guests and new members, so that leaders can talk to them about joining and/or becoming involved in the Section
C. Meal Service
While it is nearly impossible to meet everyone's needs in the meal area, be sure to offer at least two selections. The Section Program Chair's Guide gives some other options on ways to get the most out of your meal functions.
This is the most important part of the meeting. Be sure to allow adequate time for the speaker. If you have to cut any part of your meeting (due to time constraints), don't make it the speaker. A listing of suggested speakers and program topics is included in the Program Chair's Guide and the Speakers Directory.
E. Section Business
Section business should be done in a summary format, unless there is some pressing matter that cannot be addressed at a Board or committee meeting.
There should be some form of official closing to the meeting. This is an opportunity to thank the members and guests for coming, to summarize any needed activities or discussions, and to remind attendees of the upcoming Section meetings and functions.
G. Post Meeting Activities
After the meeting, those who are responsible for the meeting should do an evaluation and begin planning to make any necessary changes for the next meeting. Someone should be assigned to be sure that "thank you's" go out to everyone who helped put on the meeting - speakers, commitee members, facility representatives, etc.
Any pertinent information or news from the meeting should be sent to the Section's Newsletter Editor and Webmaster for communication to the membership.
2. Increasing Attendance
This is always the hardest part of any Section activity. The BEST way to get members to show up for Section meetings is to have programs that are so good that attendees go out and tell their fellow members what they missed and encourage them to attend the next meeting. The Section leadership can also take some specific steps, including:
- arranging carpools
- calling new members to invite them to meetings (Membership Committee responsibility)
- call the LEAST active members and do a special promotion to them
- customize meeting notices by identifying specific benefits of attending
- create poster-sized notices that members can display at work
Be sure meeting notices are sent far enough in advance to allow members to respond, and if necessary, adjust their schedules. At the same time, they shouldn't be sent so far in advance that members ignore them. Of course, the meeting notice should be a reminder (a regular schedule of meetings should be sent to all members at the beginning of the year) as well as a promotional piece. And be sure to keep the meeting schedule on your web page updated.
The location of the meeting can make a difference, too. Some Sections believe that having their meetings at the same place each time allows members to become comfortable with their travel, the facility, etc. Other Sections prefer to move their meetings around, so that no one group of members has to travel too far each time. Other factors that can have an impact on attendance include: cost of attending (registration fee),day of the week, time of day, and program topic/speaker.