Effective Committees

Sections of this topic

    How to Accomplish Effective Committees

    Sections of This Topic Include

    How to Increase Attendance and Participation in Committees
    Additional Perspectives on Effective Committees

    Also consider
    Related Library Topics

    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Effective Committees

    In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which
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    Library’s Leadership

    Library’s Supervision

    Library’s Team Performance

    Note that the reader might best be served to first read the topic Group
    to understand the basic nature of most groups and their typical
    stages of development. (It’s not clear at this time if online groups have similar
    nature and stages.)

    How To Increase Attendance and Participation in Committees

    To increase attendance and/or participation in committee meetings, consider
    some or all of the following:

    • Ensure committee chairs understand and can convey the role of the committee
      to members, and that the chair and members have up-to-date job descriptions.
    • Ensure adequate orientation that describes the organization and its unique
      services, and how the committee contributes to this mission.
    • Remember that the organization and its committees deserve strong attendance
      and participation. Don’t fall prey to the perspective that “we’re lucky
      just get anyone.” Set a standard for the best.
    • Have ground rules that support participation and attendance. Revisit the
      ground rules every other meeting and post them on the bottom of agendas.
    • Let go of “dead wood.” It often help to decrease the number of
      committee members rather than increase them.
    • Consider using subcommittees to increase individual responsibilities and
      focus on goals.
    • Conduct yearly committee evaluations that includes a clear evaluation process
      and where each committee member evaluates the other members, and each member
      receives a written report about their strengths and how they can improve their
    • Attempt to provide individual assignments to the committee members.
    • Have at least one staff member participate in each committee to help with
      administrative support and providing information.
    • For board of director’s committees, monitor quorum requirements for the
      entire board (as set forth usually in ByLaws), or the minimum number of board
      members who must be present for the board to officially enact business. This
      quorum, when not met, will serve as a clear indicator, or signal, that the
      board is in trouble.
    • Develop a committee attendance policy that specifies the number of times
      a member can be absent in consecutive meetings and in total meetings per time
    • Generate minutes for each committee meeting to get closure on items and
      help members comprehend the progress made by the committee.
    • In committee meeting reports, include noting who is present and who is absent.
    • Consider having low-attendance members involved in some other form of service
      to the organization, e.g., a “friends of the organization,” or something
      like that, who attends to special events rather than ongoing activities.
    • Have a “summit meeting” with committee members to discuss the
      low attendance problem, and use a round-table approach so each person must
      speak up with their opinions.
    • Rotate in new members every year.

    Additional Perspectives on Effective Committees

    Facilitation Library
    Best Practice Advice for Committees
    Successful Boards Committees

    Ideas to Generate Participation in Committees
    Effective Committees

    Also consider
    Action Learning
    Board Committees
    Communities of Practice

    Focus Groups
    Group Coaching
    Group Dynamics
    (about nature of groups, stages of group development, etc)

    Group Learning
    Problem Solving and Decision Making


    Meeting Management
    Open Space

    and Self-Managed Work Teams

    Team Building
    Training and Development
    Virtual Teams

    For the Category of Facilitation and Teams:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

    Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

    Related Library Topics

    Recommended Books