Host an effective follow-up meeting or event
You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Your meeting should set the proper tone you want to convey as a chapter. Hosting an effective follow up event relies first on your ability to actively recruit as many students to it as possible!
Here are some great resources for your informational meeting.
Follow up or fail
Sign-ups are worth nothing if you don’t execute a proper follow up with each new contact you have and get them to your follow-up event.
This is the perfect time to talk with the new students that you engaged with during your project about the importance of Free Speech.
This is also the ideal time to follow up with any and all additional campus organizations that you intend to have sponsor your event and engage all of your partners in the recruitment and execution process.
Follow up in multiple ways
Don’t rely on email follow ups: no one reads them besides the government. Be sure to give each interested student a personal phone call and ask them if they can come to your follow-up event. Remember, students are more likely to follow through with something that they verbally commit to do.
After you’ve called everyone, send a follow up text the day of your event to round up any stragglers who wouldn’t show up otherwise. Try something like this:
“Hey [first name], this is ]ohn. We spoke when you signed our Fight for Free Speech petition the other day. We’re all getting ready for our follow up meeting and discussion on politically correct culture. We’ll be starting the event at 8pm in the Student Center. Can you still make it?”
Email will only serve as a good reminder to those whom you’ve already reached by phone, text, and social media.
Your meeting should be within a couple days of your recruitment activity so students don’t forget.
Schedule your meeting during an evening time slot which will conflict with the fewest number of classes possible. Check your university’s calendar, and set a date and time that does not conflict with any major campus-wide event. Don’t give your new recruits any reason not to attend!
You’ll want to coordinate with the other campus organizations you may be working with to see what time slot will allow for their membership to join as well.
Secure the right space
When choosing a location, consider the size of the audience you expect. If at all possible, host your meeting in a well-known, easily-accessible classroom building on campus.
When picking your room, identify one that fits your attendance goal, but make sure that it will not be too large (it’s better to have a smaller classroom that ends up being packed with students than one that ends up looking empty even if you hit your attendance goal).
The goal is to get recruits and members pumped about being involved with your chapter. A smaller room also encourages people to engage in conversation more easily before you start to break the ice.
Get the right gear
In addition to the size of the room, you’ll want to make sure that your space provides access to the right tech equipment to host a quality meeting. Reference the checklist below to make sure your venue meets all of your criteria:
- A large projector and screen
- At least one microphone (if a larger space)
- Chairs and tables provided
- Ability to bring in food (if that is your plan)
If you find a suitable space on campus for your attendance goal that does not have the proper equipment, ask your office of Student Life where you can reserve the equipment from.
Practice makes perfect: Do a “dry run”
Try to get into the room you will be hosting your meeting in a few days ahead of time to check all of your sound and AV. Don’t let a small slip up jeopardize your entire event. If possible, have someone from the university on standby in case anything goes wrong with the equipment during the real thing.
Time out how long you will take for opening remarks and Q&A following the presentation if that is your format. Your goal is get everyone out of the meeting within a reasonable time and to provide the most valuable experience possible.
Gather all meeting materials
- “Young Americans for Liberty” sign or banner to hang up
- Name tags for each attendee
- Sign-in forms to collect attendees’ names, email addresses and their phone numbers for future follow ups (don’t forget to send this information to your Regional Director so we can add all of your new members to your chapter page.)
- IT equipment and laptop (if needed)
- YAL promotional materials and swag (flyers, palm cards, bottle openers, and more)
- Snacks and drinks
The Meeting: cover your bases
Be sure to go over your checklist when you arrive:
- Sign-in table set up. Name tags ready for all attendees.
- Table set up with snacks and drinks.
- AV and sound double checked. DVD ready to play.
- Posters hung up, and YAL banner displayed.
Welcome all attendees
Always greet all attendees, start conversations between them, and answer their questions — it’s vital everyone feels comfortable. There will be attendees who show up to the informational meeting alone in an attempt to find an organization of their interest where they feel welcomed and connected with others. Make a serious effort to meet and get to know every attendee. Tell your existing members this, too, so they follow your example and provide a welcoming atmosphere for new attendees.
Tell your attendees a bit about why you wanted to host the event, but let the presentation speak for itself. Let them know that everyone will stick around for a few extra minutes after the meeting is over for informal discussion.
Don’t be the only one talking
No one is interested in coming to a meeting just to hear one person talk for the whole time. In order to increase the camaraderie in the room, get others talking (but keep the meeting running smoothly and on time).
Promote your next activity or event
After the presentation is over, remind your attendees of when your next meeting or event will be. Be prepared to stick around for awhile and finish meeting all attendees.
Encourage people to stick around and socialize. Consider hosting a social after the meeting to allow free discussion and a more comfortable atmosphere. Whatever you choose to do, just remember that no matter how great the meeting is, if they don’t feel welcomed or comfortable they will not return as members.
Keep following up!
Follow up with attendees by sending out an email thanking them for showing interest in YAL, encouraging them to join your chapter’s Facebook group, Upload all of your attendees’ information to your chapters’ member upload tool so they can confirm their membership.
Make sure that you get every attendee’s contact information before they leave the event so you can follow up with them and help them get engaged in other ways to promote free speech.
Use the Member Upload Tool to upload all your new members’ information to your chapter page.