Effective meetings are a primary ingredient of effective organizations. There are at least three major benefits from well-run meetings:

  • Quality decision making and momentum for your work;
  • Developing your group’s skills and capabilities; and
  • Developing good working relationships and a shared sense of purpose, so that work can be delegated with healthy communication.

If you are starting out and planning initial meetings, pick a comfortable yet professional public space where the meeting can be regularly held. Consider parking, transit access, Internet availability, good lighting and comfortable seating, among the practical concerns. Also, think about a space that may connect symbolically to the cause, like a building with solar electricity, or a public library with a commitment to community outreach.

Meeting planning checklist

  1. Date and time
  2. Who will facilitate?
  3. Who will create and distribute the agenda?
  4. What other roles are needed (e.g. note-taker)?
  5. What equipment is needed?
  6. What kind of seating will work best – a table where it’s easy to have computers open, comfortable chairs in a circle, classroom style for presentations? How many chairs?
  7. Any guests to be invited, such as town officials or outside experts?
  8. When are members expected to confirm attendance?
  9. What is going on that is of special interest – volunteers to thank, achievements to honor?
  10. Are there “hot issues” to be addressed? If so, is there a plan for making sure everyone is heard and potential disputes are on track to be resolved?

State “open meetings” law requires a regular, posted location open to all – Town Hall, Public Works, Senior Center or a school can work well. If your group is an official government entity, then your meetings are governed by state open meeting laws including requirements for posting, publicizing and note-taking.

Facilitation guidelines

A good facilitator pulls together ideas from the group to reveal patterns in the work flow that make the vision achievable. He or she projects credibility and respect, combined with flexibility, openness and responsiveness to the views of all group members. A facilitator may choose (or inherit) a conventional meeting format such as parliamentary procedure (for example, Roberts’ Rules of Order) to provide structure to the meetings.

Encouraging participation and building consensus requires a holistic approach, a disciplined and steady style, some negotiating skill and patience.

Keep these tips in mind when running a meeting:

  • Encourage participation by all, including going around the table for feedback on initial discussion
  • Full participation is more than letting everyone say a few sentences. It is always valuable to ask, “Is there anything we’re missing?” and, “Let’s hear from folks who have not said much.”
  • Keep an open mind during discussions
  • Bring closure to each agenda item and move on. If the group is divided, closure might consist of homework such as fact-finding or supplemental discussions to uncover a path forward.
  • Stick to the agenda and avoid overly detailed discussion – you can always say “We can’t resolve all these details tonight – what do you think is most important here?”
  • Make sure time is used effectively

Meeting Mechanics – key steps for success

  1. Start on time
  2. Have people sign in and be sure to get at least phone numbers and emails from everyone
  3. Let everyone introduce her/ himself
  4. Review the agenda and let the group add items
  5. Explain any rules (e.g. how decisions are made, who takes notes)
  6. At the end, summarize decisions and action items
  7. Thank people for coming and confirm that folks will be there for next meeting
  8. Close the meeting on or before the ending time

Minutes from the first Branford CETF ( meeting:



Community Updates


For those concerned about the climate crisis…

Small info cards, about 3”x4”, are available in quantities of 100 and more; if interested, please contact Patrice Gillespie .


… 2018 has been named the Year of Local Action. And the Eastern CT Green Action group is leading the way. ECGA was formed by several people from towns in eastern Connecticut. Initially most people were from Mansfield; as of now, people from Andover, Ashford, Chaplin, Coventry, Eastford, Hampton, Lebanon, Pomfret, Scotland, Tolland, Willington and Windham are members.

With the publication of his excellent weekly newsletter CT Green News, ECGA co-founder Peter Millman is helping us Nutmeggers stay up to date on issues, events and opportunities for concerned citizens to connect with their elected officials. He has published over 50 editions of his newsletter, and would love to broaden his every Friday distribution. Just contact Peter via and benefit from his convenient digest of important news and environmentally-focused online postings.


Calendar Highlights


HIGHLIGHTS OF CT’s FALL GATHERING of clean energy task forces can be found here in our Knowledge Center’s Program Archives pages. Diane Duva (the Director of Energy Demand at DEEP’s Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy is pictured here) facilitating the shaping of our state’s energy future.

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Clean Energy Communities Listening Session Letter of Thanks and Follow-up

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