Leadership Training 2019
Things to Consider for a
Successful Chapter Meeting
Chapter officers who attended the 2019 Leadership
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Training event had the opportunity to learn key tips
and resources for planning a successful monthly
chapter meeting from Michael Morrison, Manager, ACI
Certification Program Development. Prior to joining ACI in
2010, Morrison worked for Portland Cement Association/
CTLGroup, Skokie, IL, for nearly 25 years, and he was
extremely active with the Illinois Chapter – ACI. His roles
included chairing the chapter’s meeting programs
committee, active involvement in the chapter’s efforts in
hosting ACI conventions in 1999 and 2010, and serving as
the chapter President.
His chapter officer experience and ACI staff knowledge
has made him a valuable resource to chapters. One of the most
valuable areas in which he has been able to assist local
chapters is meeting planning. Here are his top 10 points for a
successful chapter meeting:
1) Determine interesting topics and speakers—The two
areas that draw an audience to meetings are the topic and the
speaker. If you manage to secure a renowned local industry
professional that can present on a current hot topic, you have
hit a home run.
2) Compile a list of suggestions for speakers—Speaker
suggestions can be found by looking at what other chapters
and national industry events are offering; asking your Board
and members whether they have suggestions; and taking
advantage of ACI’s Chapter Talks program, a resource that
provides 1-hour industry-related talks from ACI professionals.
3) Schedule speakers a season at a time or for the entire
year—Presenters should be scheduled at least 4 months out to
provide adequate promotional and planning time.
4) Try not to—Schedule meetings one month at a time, or
recycle speakers by relying too many times on the same
people to present.
5) Have a contingency plan—Identify at least two backup
speakers in your area, preferably current or past Board
6) Promote the meeting—Make sure you inform your
members about the upcoming meeting at least 3 months in
advance to give them time to put the meeting on their
schedules. Also, promote the following important details:
PDHs and CEUs, topic, speaker, time, location, and cost.
7) Implement tactics to increase meeting attendance—
Create chapter incentives that offer reduced cost for new
attendees or early registration. Also, try implementing a
“bring to” meeting program that encourages members to bring
a guest with them. Provide the following suggestions for them
as guests: bring a co-worker, client, or young engineer.
8) Add value and excitement to your meeting—Identify
companies that can sponsor a cocktail hour or offer a raffle
during each meeting.
9) Communicate with your speaker—Make sure the
speaker knows the desired length of the presentation, what
audio/visual is available, question-and-answer time limit, and
expected arrival time. It is also beneficial to discuss their bio
and make sure the presentation and equipment works. If the
speaker is from out of town, make sure you cover: expenses
and payment, restrictions, and transportation. Once these areas
have been discussed, a letter or confirmation should be sent to
10) Remember, there’s always room to improve—
Gathering feedback from all parties involved identifies areas
of improvement and ensures successful meetings to come.
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