Participating in technical standards development at NACE involves attending meetings...a lot of meetings. Well-run meetings are a great tool for exchanging information, working together, and developing consensus to make decisions or create documents. Here are some suggestions on how to conduct a technical committee meeting.
Before the Meeting
Submit your meeting request before the deadline shown on the form to ensure your meeting appears in the Advance Program. Forms for meeting requests can be found on the Committee Forms and Manuals page. Reserve a room large enough and with enough time to accommodate the meeting. NACE staff will send out a list of committee meetings with the room assignments before the program is finalized to ensure that the rooms are the right size and the meeting times don’t conflict with other related events. Review your room assignment right away and let the conference staff know if your assigned room or time slot is not right. Meeting dates, times, and room assignments cannot be changed once the program is published.
If you discover that your attendance is larger than expected, the conference staff can help with bringing more chairs, switching rooms, or assigning overflow rooms. Data projectors will be provided in the meeting rooms based on availability, and laser pointers are available for checkout from the on-site NACE Conference Office, but must be requested in advance on the meeting request form.
Prepare a helpful agenda, and review the minutes from the previous meeting to identify any topics that will carry over to the next meeting. NACE has meeting agenda templates on their Committee Forms and Manuals page. The Task Group chair is responsible for submitting an agenda to NACE four weeks in advance of each meeting. PowerPoint presentations may be helpful in running the meeting, but are not required.
Once listed in the schedule, the committee chair may not cancel a meeting scheduled at Annual Conference or Corrosion Technology Week. Many people travel to NACE events just to attend specific meetings. If for some reason you are unable to attend a meeting you that are scheduled to lead, you should designate a replacement to conduct the meeting in the expected manner as the acting chair, ideally the vice chair, but if he or she is not available, then contact your Specific Technology Group (STG) chair, Technology Coordinator, or the Technical Coordination Committee (TCC) chair or vice chair to find a suitable replacement.
Just Before the Meeting
Go by the room to ensure that the seating arrangement is appropriate and any specially requested equipment has been delivered and set up. Large rooms may have PA systems; audio-visual staff will be available to help set these up if you need to use the equipment. Pick up any materials from the NACE office; NACE no longer prints agendas and minutes, but task group rosters, sign-in sheets, printed drafts, and other materials, such as meeting request forms, are available.
If you are leading a Technology Exchange Group (TEG) or Technical Information Exchange (TIE) meeting, be sure to touch base with any speakers you may have scheduled to ensure they know when and where to show up. Most rooms will have a data projector, but BYOD (bring your own device), meaning you need to supply the laptop computer to run the projector. Be sure to plug your laptop into a power outlet, the battery will always fail at the most inopportune moment of the meeting.
During the Meeting
If you are chair, assign someone to take minutes, you can’t easily both lead the discussion and take notes. Start the meeting on time, and end on time. Many people will jump from meeting to meeting to be able to participate in all of the committee meetings they are interested in, so adhering to the published schedule is important.
All technical committee meetings are open to all attendees. Greet members and make them feel welcome, even late members if you can do that without disrupting the meeting. Encourage people standing to take a seat, and people in the back to move up front. Ask attendees to minimize disruption during the meeting by muting cell phones and sitting near the door if they have to step out or are not planning to stay until the end.
Once the meeting is ready to start, follow the agenda, this is your guide to ensuring that the meeting accomplishes your goals. Follow Robert’s Rules of Order, this ensures that the meeting is orderly and fair to all, and that everyone has a chance to be heard. Circulate a sign-in sheet.
Call the meeting to order and go around the room with introductions of meeting attendees. It is helpful to summarize the purpose of the committee and the status of any documents for attendees who are new to the committee. Review the agenda and ask if there are additional items to be added. Review the minutes from the previous meeting.
During the meeting, encourage group discussion to get all points of view and ideas. You will have better quality decisions as well as highly motivated members; they will feel that attending meetings is worth their while. Always be courteous and respectful, and demand that of the meeting attendees as well. The chair should hand over control of the meeting to the vice chair or another designee if arguing a point. Monitor speakers and participants for commercialization according to the Technical Coordination Committee and Technical Committees Operating Manual. The chair has the responsibility to shut down any commercial presentation. Handouts of the presentation text, preprints of papers, journal articles, or vendor literature cannot be distributed at a TIE or a TEG meeting.
Once the committee has completed the business on the agenda, or the allotted time is up, announce the next scheduled meeting (all task groups must meet at least once per year). Summarize results and action items, and put any unfinished business on the agenda for the next meeting. There should be a motion to adjourn. Be aware that there may be another meeting coming in to the same room, so be courteous and end your meeting allowing time for the next task group to get set up and start their meeting on time.
After the Meeting
Submit the sign-in sheet to the NACE office. The chair is responsible for preparing the meeting minutes and submitting them to NACE headquarters within four weeks after the meeting. Follow up as necessary with any action items. Task Groups may work at other times and locations as necessary to complete their task in a timely manner and the Task Group’s staff liaison at NACE International headquarters can assist with resources for teleconference calls or Web meetings.
NACE International depends on volunteers to make it the leader in the industry, and I would like to offer my thanks to all for your contributions of time and effort. I hope these suggestions help you to lead great and productive meetings.