Student Network groups are encouraged to hold meetings with their peers to engage them in, and educate them about, medical neutrality. Holding an informational meeting requires some advanced planning, so you will want to think about what your goals are and how you plan to achieve them beforehand.
- Determine what type of meeting you wish to have. Will it be open only to your student group, or will you open it up to the public? Will you host the meeting jointly with another student group? Will you ask attendees to act individually in support of the medical neutrality bill, or do you plan to use the meeting to organize a group action?
- Once you have identified your group’s goals for the meeting, make arrangements to secure a meeting space, date, and time. Do you know how many people you expect to attend? Do you have access to a meeting space suitable for the anticipated number of participants? Is the space quiet enough to allow group members to comfortably engage in a discussion? Is the date and time convenient for most members? Will you provide food and beverages, or will the meeting be held in or close to an establishment that sells snacks?
- Prepare an agenda for the meeting. You may wish to begin with introductions, if there are new participants at the meeting. If there are any new members whose contact information you don’t have, be sure to ask them to sign in so you have a way to reach them after the meeting. Be sure to inform new participants about your student group. Also be sure to inform all participants of the meeting agenda, or provide copies of it, so they can identify the appropriate time to bring up an issue or ask a question. Keep participants on track so you can maximize productivity.
- Ask participants to take a specific action on the medical neutrality bill. You may wish to ask participants to send a letter, call their Representative, or join in a group visit to their Representative’s office. Whatever it is, be sure to be specific about the requested action and what the expectations are in terms of a time commitment.
- Follow up with participants after the meeting. Be sure to contact participants within a week after the meeting to thank them for their participation, and to follow up with them about the planned action (if there is one), or to provide an update on an action they took at the meeting (e.g., if they signed a letter to their Representative, you can inform them that the letter has been mailed, faxed, or emailed, and that you are awaiting a reply).
- Incorporate feedback from the meeting into plans for future meetings or events. Offer participants an opportunity to provide feedback on the meeting or the action, and then incorporate their feedback into plans for future meetings or events. For instance, you might ask participants what they enjoyed about the meeting, or what prompted them to want to take action on the medical neutrality bill. You may learn that a participant has a particular skill or background (e.g., in medicine or in journalism) that could prove useful in future actions (e.g., a person with a medical background might be able to provide a unique perspective when meeting with policymakers or their staff, while a person with a background in journalism may be able to help your group publicize its actions on the medical neutrality bill).