We've all heard of those infamous band meetings where members arrive late only to talk (and sometimes scream) about important (and sometimes completely unimportant) matters in a disorganized fashion. Just watch Metallica's documentary, Some Kind of Monster, for a shocking dose of band dysfunction.
By definition, meetings are formal gatherings of people or committees intended to update, debate, and solve various business matters. To ensure that your band meetings go smoothly, check out these eight tips that are super easy to put into action.
1. Schedule in advance
2. Choose a convenient location
3. Distribute an agenda in advance
Write a clear agenda of specifically what will be discussed in the meeting. By sending the outline to all members in advance, they can begin to formulate their questions and thoughts, and you'll save tons of time in the meeting itself.
4. Set an end time
While the length of a meeting is determined by the agenda, try to keep meetings no longer than one hour, moving efficiently from one item to the next.
5. Appoint one bandmate to run the meeting and enforce ground rules
Even if your band is a democracy, appoint one member to oversee the meetings. The leader opens the meetings, addresses each issue one at a time, and offers each bandmate the floor to comment in an organized, respectful, and efficient manner. Cell phones and other distractions should be prohibited from band meetings, and the leader should be in charge of enforcing this.
6. Vote on issues
After an issue is discussed, the band member leading the meeting "moves" to vote on it, and waits for the members to "second," or approve, the proposal. Should people feel an item needs further discussion, it can be tabled for the next meeting. The point is to keep the meeting moving forward and not let one issue dominate the discussion.
7. Adjourn meetings
The meeting leader must officially close the meeting before bandmates begin wandering off. I have been in countless situations where members start playing games of pool or firing up their amplifiers while others are still talking. And finally...
8. Send out meeting minutes to be approved by all bandmates
After each meeting, the leader sends out a detailed email of what was discussed and agreed upon to ensure there are no misunderstandings. Each member must approve the meeting minutes by simply responding with "approved."
These methods may seem rather rigid and so un-rock 'n' roll-like, but remember that a band is a business, just like any other, and cutting through the bullshit that plagues so many bands is not a bad thing at all. In fact, should you decide to incorporate your band, your group (or your elected "board" of members) is required to hold regularly scheduled meetings and keep detailed notes (or "minutes") of what was discussed. Yup, I bet you didn't know that!
No matter what your business entity, give the tips above a try. I wish that all my bands had! For more detailed information on holding efficient meetings, check out Robert's Rules of Order at robertsrules.com. You can also check out my books at bobbyborg.com.
Bobby Borg is the author of Business Basics for Musicians: The Complete Handbook From Start to Success (published by Hal Leonard) available at bobbyborg.com/store. As a limited-time special offer, you can get the book, CD, and DVD for only $21.99 (a $70 value).