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Stop Racing the Clock: How to Prepare for a Public Meeting

Municipal clerks are some of the busiest employees in state and local government—something that probably doesn’t need to be told to the people who have the job. They have countless daily tasks to complete, but they never have enough time.

That makes task efficiency vital to a clerk accomplishing everything that needs to be done in a day. And in no area is that more clear than the public meeting process, where they’re involved from beginning to end.

So what can a clerk do to head off issues in a meeting and ensure they’re prepared? We decided to trust the wisdom of the crowd and ask them for their best time-saving tips earlier this year. We published the findings in our guide, “Simplify Your Work Life: An Efficiency Guide for Managing Public Meetings.”

Here are three tips that emerged the most often among clerks for how to best prepare for a public meeting:

Set firm deadlines

If you want to waste less time, it’s important to hold staff accountable for deadlines to ensure you aren’t handling last-minute requests and needing to redistribute various versions of the public meeting agenda.

Digitize the agenda-creation process

A single agenda can contain hundreds of items that each have their own supporting documents. That results in reams of paper being wasted for just one public meeting. Clerks who used paper-based processes then need to spend hours in an agenda compilation conga line as they put together enormous packets.

By moving to digital agenda management software—like Granicus’ meeting solution—agenda items can be created and tracked from genesis to when they end up on the agenda (which helps meet deadlines!). And with digital agendas, the entire packet can be published with the push of a button.

Delegate tasks where you can

The old adage is that, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” But public meetings are a heavy lift, so delegate tasks as often as possible. Do you have support staff? IT folks? See if they can set up the meeting room and make sure all the technology is working properly.

Want to learn more about the best ways to prepare, run and follow up on a public meeting? Download our new guide here.