The “how to” for productive staff meetings

by Sarah Hinten
Posted in: Editor-in-chief's Corner, Fall 2008, Staff Management

No matter if you are in charge of a staff of seven or 17, there are several essential keys to holding a productive, organized, smooth-running staff meeting. For starters, organization is a must!

Some editors have found it beneficial to keep an editor’s binder with dividers. You can have a section for each of the following: deadline sheets and ladder, rough drafts of copy, final drafts of copy, rough drafts of layouts, final drafts of layouts, top 10 picture selection, rough drafts of captions, and final drafts of captions. This may sound like a lot, but you will be thankful you got a jump-start on it now.

You and your staff are very busy, so the meetings need to move quickly and efficiently.

  • Have the staff meet at a table together, unless your staff is huge. In that case, call writers, photographers and page design people up in their individual groups.
  • Have your binder with you so you know what you are going to talk about.
  • Make sure the atmosphere is relaxed, and be sure not to lose your cool with anyone. Remember, you might be hanging out with these people this weekend.
  • Go around the table and have everyone tell you what they are working on, how far they are on the project, what they still need. Remind them of their deadline, especially if it is fast approaching.
  • Give guidance to staff members about their work if needed, and make suggestions about ways to work quickly and efficiently so deadlines can be met.
  • Most importantly have fun! Sure, this is a production process, which takes time, but you only have one shot to capture the year, so delve into it and let the imagination run wild.

Another suggestion for an effective meeting is making the rule at the beginning of the year that what happens in the yearbook room stays in the yearbook room. While these staff members answer to you on their production, they also are your classmates, friends and confidants. Everyone needs to realize that all of their ideas will not be accepted, and all of them will not be rejected. During staff meetings, constructive criticism is beneficial. Do not hold back, because your yearbook is on the line; just always remember to be tactful. Organize, gather the staff, take a deep breath and go for it

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Logan Cai February 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Curious, I manage a staff of 66, which way too much for me too much for me. And instead of a class, this is a yearbook club so the staff isn’t as motivated to work. What are your suggestions for me? Delegating tasks to people seems impossible for me.

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Sarah Hinten-Fandrei February 15, 2011 at 11:16 am

One suggestion I could make is to weed out those that see your club as nothing more than an afternoon hang out. I understand it’s a club, however, I’m sure there are those that ARE serious about their work. So maybe you could gather everyone and explain the situation, be frank with them about wanting to make this a great yearbook and wanting to have as many ideas flowing as possible. Maybe have everyone write a paragraph or two about why they want to be in the club and what they want to accomplish. Those who are serious about it will first of all, do the assignment and second, be legit in their reasonings. Most of those who aren’t serious probably won’t even do the assignment, therefore may not even come and waste your time anymore. After those who aren’t serious are weeded out, let the delegating begin!!

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