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Planning for the Meeting (Agenda and Goals)

Much of the work of a coordinator is done behind the scenes. Before each meeting, it is important for the coordinator to hold a vision for the long-term work of the team. This includes tracking the work that the team is doing and paying attention to timelines the team has set for tasks and goals. With that work in mind, as well as emerging issues that are happening in the community, the most important work the coordinator can do before the meeting to set things up for success is develop an intentional and usable agenda for the meeting. This can ensure that all team members have access to the same information (which can help them be more prepared), keep the meetings focused and forward-moving, and acts as a historical record for the team.

Setting purposeful agendas often includes providing agendas with goals for the meeting that are clear, concise, and measurable:

  • including sufficient time for each agenda item;
  • distributing the agenda and supporting information at least one week before the meeting;
  • beginning each meeting by reviewing any items remaining from the previous meeting;
  • fostering continuity from one meeting to the next by reminding team members where they are in the process; and
  • ending each meeting with a summary of the next steps needed.

What is actually on SART agendas will look different depending on the community and the work that is being done.  Based on the goals of the team, meeting agendas can include things such as:

  • Updates on the work of the team
  • New or emerging issues – changes to legislation, media that impacts the team, or sexual assault related issues the team may need to discuss
  • Trainings – from team members, related community resources, or issue specific trainings that will help the work of the team
  • Protocol development or revision
  • Case File Review
  • Team Planning
  • Increasing understanding of roles and work of team members, including confidentiality considerations
  • Planning for engagement and feedback from victims/survivors

I think that agendas are an often underappreciated tool in SART work. In our work with teams, we have gathered and created sample agendas that we could share if they would help you in looking at your own meeting agenda and structure! Reach out to svji@mncasa.org to access these samples. What tips or ideas have you used to improve your own meeting agendas?