Leadership Resources


The PALM Leadership Office hosts a robust collection of leadership books, activities, and workshop materials that are free to utilize. Below you will find a PDF detailing the extensive collection.

Leadership 101

Below you will find a collection of theories, group development tools, and activities that can get you started on your leadership journey. For more information about any of these topics, feel free to contact our office at any time!

  • In our active world of communication one cannot afford to exclude the art of listening. As a leader, you must listen to your constituents in order to be effective. You need to listen and correctly understand all messages from group members.

    Active listening differs from hearing. Hearing is the act of perceiving audible sounds with the ear and is a passive act. Listening, on the other hand, is the active pursuit of understanding what the other person is saying and feeling.

    In active listening, the receiver tries to understand what the sender is feeling and what the message means. The listener puts his/her understanding into his/her own words and feeds it back to the sender for verification. It is important to feed back only what the listener feels the sender's message meant, nothing more, nothing less. This creates an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding in which the sender can explore the problem and determine a solution.

    To listen actively and to understand is not a passive or simple activity. The following are important characteristics of a "good listener".

    Be There
    Be present in heart, mind, and spirit with the person. You need to hear what he/she has to say. If you don't have the time, or don't want to listen, wait until you do.

    Accept the person as she/he is without judgment or reservation or putting the person in a mental box or category, even though she/he may be very different from you.

    Trust the person's ability to handle his/her own feelings, work through them, and find solutions to his/her own problems.

    Respect Feelings
    Accept the person's feelings, whatever they may be or however they may differ from your feelings or from what you think a person "should" feel. Don't be afraid that just because the feeling is expressed that the person will always feel that way. Remember that feelings change.


    Don't plan what you are going to say. Don't think of how you can interrupt. Don't think of how to solve the problem, how to admonish, how to console, or what the person "should" do. Don't think to struggle or react... Listen!

    Keep Out Of It
    Keep yourself removed. Keep objective. Don't intrude physically, verbally, or mentally. Shut up. Listen. This is hard and not passive!

    Stay With The Other Person
    Put yourself in the other's shoes, at his/her point of reference.Don't become that person, but understand what he/she is feeling, saying and thinking. Stay separate enough to be objective but involved enough to help.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.

  • Is your group stumped for new ideas? Do you do the same activities the same old way year after year? Do the leaders and just a few others seem to do all the talking?

    Brainstorming may be just the technique to rejuvenate your organization and get everyone excited and involved. The purpose of this method is to get out as many ideas as possible—the more you have to choose from, the better your final choice will be! You can use brainstorming for almost anything: program ideas, themes, slogans, publicity, group goals, and problem solving.

    The rules for brainstorming are deceptively simple—be sure the group understands them and someone has the job of making sure they are followed.

    First Of All... Set The Stage...

    1. Set a time limit—10 to 20 minutes, depending upon the size of your group and the complexity of the issue.
    2. The best group size is 3–15 people. If you have more, break into two or more groups and brainstorm simultaneously.
    3. The question or issue must be one about which all participants can speak. Focus on only one issue at time.
    4. Record all responses on a blackboard or big sheets of newsprint so everyone can see them; don't record the name of the person suggesting. Record only key words and phrases, not word for word.

    Second... Explain (and Possibly Post) The Following Rules...

    1. Do not discuss ideas.
    2. Do not criticize, praise, or judge.
    3. Be spontaneous—no hand-raising; just call out.
    4. Repetitions are okay.
    5. Quantity counts.
    6. Build on each other's ideas—"hitch-hiking" or "piggy-backing" is encouraged.
    7. Enjoy the silences—often the best ideas come out of them.
    8. It is okay to be outrageous, even silly.

    Third...Make Good Use Of The Members' Creativity

    1. If several groups brainstormed the same idea, put the lists on the wall and let everyone read each other's work.
    2. Group ideas into related categories for review.
    3. Decide which ideas are most promising and which can be eliminated; this can be done by putting pluses and minuses by items.
    4. Rank the most promising.
    5. Select those with greatest potential and high-ranking priority for either implementation or refinement by committee or the group.
    6. Follow up. If the ideas are to be implemented successfully by the group or by committee, ask for updates on a regular basis.
    7. Review and evaluate your ideas as they are being implemented. Make any changes deemed necessary by the group.
    8. Be sure to utilize the ideas generated. It is extremely demoralizing for a group to invest its time, energy, and creativity and have the idea disappear. Seeing your ideas come to fruition however, is extremely rewarding.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.
    Pfeiffer and Jones; 1972 Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators .
    Schindler-Rainmann E. and Lippitt, R.; Taking Your Meetings Out of the Doldrums.


  • Icebreakers and acquaintanceship exercises are important when groups come together each year and when bringing in new members. They can be excellent devices to help people feel more comfortable with themselves and others, as well as feel more "at home" in a group.

    They also break up the "cliques" by inviting people to form random groupings and helping individuals meet others in a non-threatening and fun way. When used to set a tone for the time a group will be together, members are encouraged to feel comfortable and this can relieve tension.

    Icebreakers, figuratively, break the ice when a group just forms or reforms after a break. Icebreakers are an effective method to initiate a new member orientation. A few examples are:


    1. Human scavenger hunt.
    Find someone who: is a graduate student,
    owns cross country skis,
    has been to Europe,
    wears contacts.
    (make up your own...be creative!)

    2. Hometown.
    Members tell where they are from and information about their hometown.

    3. Name games.
    Why or how the member received his/her name.
    Share name and hobby; members try to memorize information.

    4. Knots.
    Form a circle by placing hands in the middle of the circle. Grab someone else's hands (not on either side of you), and without letting go, try to untangle the "knot."

    Examples Of Getting Acquainted Exercises:
    The following exercise will encourage stronger ties, which are important when working together.

    1. Dyads.
    Members form groups of two and find out information about each other. Possible questions to use:

    1. Who do you think is the most important person who has lived in the past 100 years?
    2. What is the best movie that you have seen recently?
    3. What is the title of the last book that you have read?
    4. If you could be any animal other than human, what would you be?
    5. If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?
    6. What is your favorite sport?
    7. One adjective to describe me is ....
    8. The emotion I find most difficult to control is....

    2. Crest or Coat of Arms.
    Members create their own "Coat of Arms" by filling in information about themselves using words or drawings.
    Information can include:
    Significant Life Event
    Favorite Heroes
    Family Members
    Five or Ten Year Goals
    What they can bring to the organization
    What they want to receive from the organization

    3. Forced Choice.
    Ask members to stand in the middle of the room and have them move to either side to indicate their choice. Have them find a partner on the side they have chosen and discuss reasons for their choice.

    Are you:
    1. More like a Cadillac than a Volkswagen?
    2. More of a saver than a spender?
    3. More like New York than Colorado?
    4. More yes than no?
    5. More like a student than a teacher?
    6. More here than there?
    7. More religious than non-religious?
    8. More like the present than the future?
    9. More like a file cabinet than a liquor chest?
    10. More intuitive than rational?
    11. More like a tortoise than a hare?
    12. More like an electric typewriter than a quill pen?
    13. More like a roller skate than a pogo stick?
    14. More like a bubbling brook than a placid lake?
    15. More like a gourmet restaurant than a McDonald's?

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.


  • One of the tasks you face as a financial officer, especially if your organization makes frequent business transactions, is that of preparing a budget. A budget is a tool used for planning and controlling your financial resources. It is a guideline for your future plan of action, expressed in financial terms within a set period of time. A budget does not have to be complex as the information below will explain.

    What A Budget Accomplishes

    · It helps refine goals.
    · It compels members of the organization to use funds efficiently.
    · It provides accurate information to analyze, adjust, and evaluate programs and activities.
    · It aids in decision making.
    · It provides a historical reference to be used for future planning.

    Pre-Budget Considerations

    Knowing your organization's priorities, objectives, and goals helps as you begin to prepare your budget. As you begin, ask yourself the following questions.

    · What is the time period with which you are working (e.g., one term, entire school year)?
    · What does your group most want to accomplish?
    · How will you accomplish this?
    · How much will it cost?
    · Where is the money coming from?

    Once these questions have been answered, you are ready to begin preparing your budget.

    Preparing Your Budget

    1. Prepare an outline of the organization's planned future activities.
    2. Determine and record available funds (e.g., carryover balance from previous year).
    3. Estimate and record expected income and when it will be available (dues, t-shirt sales, video games, etc.).
    4. Define and record needed expenses (advertising, rentals, printing, supplies, etc.).
    5. Review, revise, and then assemble into a final budget.
    6. Have members vote for budget approval.


    Managing the Budget

    1. Once prepared and approved, it should be closely managed.
    2. Set and maintain a minimum cash balance.
    3. Formulate general policies and procedures needed to achieve objectives while providing internal control (e.g., allow only approved expenditures).
    4. Keep an accurate written log of financial transactions (income and expenses).
    5. Periodically compare the budget to your actual logged expenditures.

    Dues 6,000.00
    Entertainment 1,000.00
    Fundraisers 4,000.00
    Ticket Sales 3,000.00
    Refreshments 700.00
    Sales (Coke) 2,500.00
    TOTAL INCOME $17,200.00

    Ads $ 800.00
    Supplies 1,500.00
    Printing 3,500.00
    Tickets 900.00
    Miscellaneous 200.00
    TOTAL EXPENSES $6,900.00

    PROJECTED GAIN $ 10,300.00

    Determine the outcome of each expense and revenue as the budget period is ending. Review and judge actual costs in order to establish priorities for the next budgeted period. Begin preparing for the next budget a month or more prior to the current budgeted period and then begin the process anew.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.


  • How can you help people in your organization prepare for future leadership roles and free up more time in your schedule so you can do other things? DELEGATION. Delegation is the key to a successful organization. Sharing responsibilities keeps members interested and enthusiastic about the group. You might be reluctant to delegate because you want to make sure the job is done right (your way). But you can make members feel unimportant and become apathetic if you don't share the responsibility of making the organization a success.

    Group benefits of delegation:
    · Members become more involved and committed
    · More projects and activities are undertaken
    · A greater chance that projects will be completed
    · Increased opportunities for members to develop leadership skills
    · More of a chance to fill leadership roles with qualified, experienced people
    · The organization operates more smoothly

    The leader benefits from delegation by:
    · Not being spread too thin and therefore is less likely to burn out
    · Gaining satisfaction seeing members grow and develop
    · Acquiring more experience in executive and administrative functions

    An Appropriate Time To Delegate Is When:
    · There is a lot of work
    · A member has particular qualifications for or interest in a task
    · Someone can benefit from the responsibility
    · Routine matters need attention
    · Details take up too much time and have to be divided

    The Time Not To Delegate Is When:
    · The task is something you would not want to do (menial work)
    · Someone is under qualified or overqualified for the task
    · The work is your own specified responsibility
    · The area is big or is an unsolved problem, issue, or matter dealing with the personal feelings of another or with confidentiality

    There Are Many Ways To Delegate:
    · Ask for volunteers by a show of hands or passing a sign-up sheet. (Interest is a great motivator!) However, this method can be impersonal and you could be "stuck" if no one signs up.

    · Appoint or suggest someone. Sometimes a member lacks self-confidence and won't volunteer; appointing him/her demonstrates your confidence in him/her.

    · Assign through a committee. This takes the pressure off an individual and reinforces organizational structure.

    · Try to spread the enjoyable and responsible tasks around, giving more members status and value.

    Guidelines For Effective Delegation:
    1. Choose the appropriate people by interviewing and placing your members carefully. Consider his/her time, interest, and capabilities. Specific responsibilities to be delegated to a particular person must be appropriate for the growth of that person at that time.
    2. Explain why the person(s) was (were) selected for this task.
    3. Delegate segments that make sense; not bits and pieces of a task, but share the "big picture". People like to know how their segment will help the larger program.
    4. Discuss the task at hand. Discuss ideas; mutually set goals and objectives. Whenever possible, give those who will be responsible for carrying out a program a voice in the decision-making. Do not lower standards; don't insult your members!
    5. Define clearly the responsibilities being delegated to each person. Explain what is expected of the person(s) and what the bounds of authority are. Be sure agreement is reached on areas where the person can function freely. The end result is important, not the various steps. Everyone accomplishes tasks differently.
    6. Find out how you will know when they need help. Make sure they understand you are willing to assist but must first be told when and how you can help. Give accurate and honest feedback. People want and deserve to know how they are doing. This is both an opportunity for giving satisfaction and encouraging growth. Allow for risk-taking and mistakes.
    7. Support your officers and committee chairs by sharing information, knowledge, and plans with them. It is incredible how many errors are made simply due to a lack of information. Share their failures as well as their successes.
    8. Delegate. Most responsible people do not appreciate someone looking over their shoulder, or taking back parts of their assignment before they have a chance to do it. As a leader, it can be hard for you to "let go"; you like being the doer. Let them do the job! Delegating does not eliminate work, it simply changes it. As you delegate appropriately, a multiplier effect occurs.
    9. Follow up. Check periodically to see if people have any questions regarding how a project is supposed to be done. This will also let you know how that individual is progressing on the task. There is a fine line between delegating and following-up.
    10. Evaluate the importance of evaluation. You must not overlook the need to evaluate and measure the extent to which actions conformed to plans, if the plans went well or if the original plans were appropriate and worthwhile. Use appropriate feedback techniques. One of your most important roles as a leader is to help your members to learn and grow through both their successes and their failures! Your members are your greatest resource. Let them create and turn their creativity into action!

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.


  • As a group or organization forms, it goes through certain predictable stages, progressing from a collection of individuals to a cohesive group working together for a common cause. Two dimensions are present in any group and influence its development-task functions and personal relations.

    Four Stages Of Group Development

    Stage I
    Personal relations are characterized by dependency on the leader to provide structure. Major task functions concern the orientation of group members to the work they are being asked to do. The issues have to be specified. Common behavior at this point is questioning why we are here, what we are supposed to do, how are we going to get it done, and what are our goals.

    Stage II

    Personal relations: conflict and confrontation among group members, who is responsible for what, what are going to be the work rules, what are going to be the limits, what is going to be the reward system and what is the criteria? The variety of organizational concerns that emerge reflect conflict over leadership structure, power, and authority. It is important that strategies are implemented to help members move constructively from conflict toward renewed commitment to the group. If this does not happen, members may isolate or even remove themselves from the group during this phase.

    Stage III
    Personal relations are marked by cohesion; people begin to experience a feeling of belonging to the group. They begin sharing ideas, feelings, giving feedback to each other, soliciting feedback, exploring actions related to the task, and sharing information related to the task. This becomes a period during which people feel good about being a part of a group and there is a brief abandonment of the task and a period of play—the enjoyment of the cohesion that is being experienced.

    Stage IV
    Interdependence is achieved by group members; members can work autonomously, in any sub-groupings or as a total unit. They are highly task- and people-oriented. Group's tasks are well defined, there is high commitment to common activity and support for experimentation with solving problems. A collective, interdependent organism is the final outcome of the process of group development.

    Possible Courses Of Action (Or What A Leader Can Do)

    Stage I
    Leader should provide as much structure as possible; team building is important here.

    Stage II
    Leader may need to provide clarification or justification to group members; leader may also spend time with individual members to help them clarify their feelings about group involvement.

    Stage III
    Leader should identify the transition and capitalize on it; members are ready to work hard, so the leader must provide opportunities for this to occur.

    Stage IV
    Leader can take a less active role and allow the group considerable autonomy. Members’ interdependence, flexible approaches to task accomplishment, commitment to self-assessment, and appropriate adjustment or adaptation readily occurs.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.
    Reference: Sara Boatman, Group Development; Pfeiffer/Jones


  • Lack of motivation can happen to the best of us and usually happens when it is needed the most. Fear not: here are a few sure fire tips on getting others motivated.

    Provide a reason to participate. People must perceive a reason for becoming involved. They must perceive the reason. Individuals will participate in different issues, activities, and groups only to the extent that their personal needs and interests are appealed to and met.

    Give recognition. To be appreciated, important, and needed is a prime motivator in all of us. Encouragement and recognition are essential to stimulating and maintaining active involvement in volunteer groups.

    Clearly define and communicate your goals. You motivate people by selling ideas, programs and results—not membership. A group with a set of goals, which are clearly understood and mutually accepted by its membership, has an achieving force that is almost irresistible. Many groups, however, lack a clear sense of direction, and as a result wander in their efforts with limited accomplishment.

    Conduct meetings that stimulate. Nothing is more discouraging than a poorly organized, rambling, unproductive meeting. Yet most of our meetings are exactly that. Productive meetings require more than a powerful leader and parliamentary procedure.

    Value others through communication. It is through communication that people are motivated. The way we express ourselves can either "turn people on" or it can "turn them off". It can either gain their support or discourage their participation.

    Listen. People want to be listened to. A person is motivated to achieve when he/she feels his/her ideas and suggestions are listened to and respected. The biggest cause of group "apathy" is the failure to really listen.

    Look at yourself. The ability to understand others begins with an understanding of ones' self. Ask yourself these three questions: What motivates me to do the things I do? Why do I react in different ways to different people, situations and things? Honest answers to these three questions can give you tremendous insight into what motivates others.

    Handle conflict creatively. Disagreement and conflict can be very destructive forces if not dealt with constructively. Open free-for-alls can split a group right down the middle. Likewise, the suppressing of disagreement discourages new ideas and, in turn, the very vitality the group so badly needs.

    Adopted from the IDEAL Program from the Office of Student Activities at the University of Florida



    Developing a successful fundraising strategy allows student organizations to cover operating expenses, complete projects and programs, and create a small reserve or cushion for the future. Many student organizations find that the success of their fundraising may be attributed to the following six general principles:

    1. Think Positively: As you plan for the year, think big; dream a little. Ask yourself, "If money were not an issue, what would the group do?" Use your imagination. It is generally easier to scale down your organization's plans than to scale up in mid-year. You can begin to assess the feasibility of these goals in light of your resources. A dose of realism is necessary at this stage in your thinking, but be positive.

    2. Establish Financial Goals: If you don't know where you're going, you'll never know if you've arrived. Organizations must establish an annual budget. The development of a budget should follow, not precede, the establishment of your organization's positive, but realistic, goals for the year. (Making the group's plan fit the budget rather than making the budget fit the plan is a common error characteristic of stifled organizations). Once a budget of proposed expenses is developed it must be reviewed against existing resources. The specified dollar figure beyond existing resources that will be required to operate and complete the group's program for the year becomes the group's fundraising target. If this figure is large, don't panic; it is time to be both creative and realistic.

    3. Develop Creative Fundraising Alternatives: Once you have established a financial target, identify all potential sources of funds and develop creative ways to tap these sources. Successful organizations utilize multiple approaches to fundraising.

    4. Establish A Fundraising Plan: Fundraising is like any other group project; it cannot happen successfully if left to chance. Successful fundraising requires careful planning. Answer the basic planning questions -- Who? What? When? Where? and Why? As you creatively explore approaches to fundraising, it is important to balance the costs to the organization (required outlay of time and of human material and existing financial resources) with the risks involved in fundraising (potential liability and the possible loss of resources or good will). If the risks are greater than what the group wishes to assume, it is time to go back and revise the organization's overall goals for the year to reflect a reduced financial base. Remember to think positively and creatively. Once a financial plan is developed, write it down.

    5. Follow University Procedures: Many fundraising activities require prior University approval, particularly for sales and solicitation activity. Some activities are restricted or prohibited under the University policy or State law. You should be familiar with both the approval procedure and limitations before you undertake a fundraising strategy.

    6. Evaluate Fundraising Activities: In order to determine your level of success, maximize learning opportunities and advise future leaders of the organization. It is necessary to evaluate your fundraising activities. This evaluation should go beyond a simple comparison of the dollar goal with the amount raised. It should include a qualitative analysis and conclude with recommendations for future fundraising activities.

    University Monies




    Criteria: Funds are distributed to registered student organizations planning leadership development programs, co-curricular educational events, or campus unity-building activities. Funding for travel and training opportunities must be demonstrated to have a potential benefit to the organization and university community.

    Contact: Get a form from the Campus Activities and Student Organizations Office, LBJSC 4-11.1, the student organization website, or call (512) 245-3219 for more information.

    Process: Complete the form and be sure to provide a detailed budget. Check for application deadlines.


    Contact: Get a form from the Multicultural Student Affairs Office, LBJSC 5-2.2, or call (512) 245-2278 for more information.

    Process: Complete the form and be sure to provide all supporting documentation. Check for application deadlines.


    Contact: Get a form from the Multicultural Student Affairs Office, LBJSC 5-2.2, or call (512) 245-2278 for more information.

    Process: Complete the form and be sure to provide a detailed budget. Check for application deadlines.


    Criteria: Event must be alcohol and drug free. In addition, an alcohol and/or drug related issue must be addressed in some manner.

    Contact: Get a form from the Alcohol and Drug Resource Center, LBJSC 5-4.1, or call (512) 245-3601 for more information.

    Process: Complete an application and include a budget summary. Check for application deadlines.


    Criteria: Project must be related to the department's emphasis. Project should serve the educational needs of students.

    Contact: Approach the department via the Chairperson or Administrative Assistant. Try to have a name of a contact before approaching.

    Process: Be prepared! Do homework on past grants or administrative policies, they may effect your request and background information on department's funding record. Be sure your proposal is well written, contains complete details and includes a detailed budget. Do not only focus on money. Remember donations such as phone use, office supplies, copying, typing and other free materials are helpful. Do not get discouraged if you are referred to someone else; you may not be at the right office, and they are trying to help.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.






  • One of a leader's responsibilities is to create and utilize a forum for open, constructive communication in which feedback is a priority.

    Feedback is communicating to a member or group how their behavior has affected us or other people. Effective feedback can (1) be heard by the receiver; (2) keeps the relationship intact, open, and healthy; and (3) validates the feedback process in future interactions.

    Effective feedback, both positive and negative, is helpful to others. When you give feedback you are offering valuable information that will be useful to another person making decisions about how to behave. Feedback is not criticism. Criticism is evaluative; feedback is descriptive. It also allows us to build and maintain communication with others. Feedback provides the individual with information that can be used in performing personal evaluation.

    Characteristics of Effective Feedback

    1. It is specific rather than general. To be told that one is "dominating" will probably not be as useful as to be told that "You were not listening to what the others said, but I felt I had to agree with your arguments or face attack from you."

    2. It is focused on behavior rather than on the person. It is important that we refer to what a person does rather than to what we think or imagine he/she is.

    3. It takes into account the needs of the receiver of the feedback. Feedback can be destructive when it serves only your own needs and fails to consider the needs of the person on the receiving end. It should be given to help, not to hurt. It is directed toward behavior which the receiver can do something about.

    4. It is solicited, rather than imposed. Feedback is most useful when the receiver has formulated the kind of question which those observing can respond to.

    5. It involves sharing of information rather than giving advice. By sharing information, we leave a person free to decide in accordance with goals, needs, etc. When we give advice we tell a person what to do and to some degree take away the person's freedom to decide for himself.

    6. It is well-timed. In general, immediate feedback is most useful (depending of course, on the person's readiness to hear it, support available from others, etc.). The reception and use of feedback involves many possible emotional reactions. Excellent feedback presented at an inappropriate time may do more harm than good.

    7. It involves the amount of information the receiver can use rather than the amount we would like to give. To overload persons with feedback is to reduce the possibility that they may be able to use what they received effectively. When we give more than can be used, we are more often than not satisfying some need of our own rather than helping the other person.

    8. It concerns what is said or done, or how it is said or done, not why. The "why" takes us from the observable to the inferred and involves assumptions regarding motive or intent. Telling a person what her motivations or intentions are more often than not tends to alienate the person and contributes to a climate of resentment, suspicion, and distrust; it does not contribute to learning or development. It is dangerous to assume that we know why a person says or does something, or what he "really" means, or what she is "really" trying to accomplish. If we are uncertain of the persons motives or intent, this uncertainty itself is feedback and should be revealed.

    9. It is checked to insure clear communication. One way of doing this is to have the receiver try to rephrase the feedback received to see if it corresponds to what the sender has in mind. No matter what the intent, feedback is often threatening and thus subject to considerable distortion or misinterpretation.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.


  • Your year as an officer is coming to an end and new officers are being selected. How do you leave your position gracefully? How do you ensure that the new officers are ready to continue to provide your organization with strong leadership?

    A thorough leadership transition plan has several benefits:

    · Provides for transfer of significant organizational knowledge.
    · Minimizes the confusion of leadership changeover.
    · Gives outgoing leaders a sense of closure.
    · Utilizes the valuable contributions of experienced leaders, usually the most neglected members in your group.
    · Helps incoming leadership absorb the special expertise of the outgoing leadership.
    · Increases the knowledge and confidence of the new leadership.
    · Minimizes the loss of momentum and accomplishments for the group.

    When Do You Start? Early!

    · Begin early in the year to identify emerging leaders.
    · Encourage these potential leaders through personal contact; help in developing skills, delegating responsibility to them, sharing with them the personal benefits of leadership, clarifying job responsibilities, letting them know that transition will be orderly and thorough, and last, modeling an open, encouraging leadership style.
    · When new officers have been elected, orient them together as a group with all of the outgoing officers. This process provides the new leaders with an opportunity to understand each other's roles and to start building their leadership team.
    · Be sure to transfer the knowledge and information necessary for them to function well. An organization history and flow-chart might be helpful. Take time to organize any files or notebooks so they may quickly access information.

    What Do You Need To Transfer?

    Think back to your first weeks. What could you have used to do your job better? Some suggestions are:

    · Effective leadership qualities and skills.
    · Problems and helpful ideas, procedures and recommendations.

    Written reports:

    · Containing traditions, ideas, or completed projects; continuing projects and concerns; or ideas never carried out.
    · Personal and organizational files.
    · Acquaintance with physical environment, supplies, equipment, and any office procedures.
    · Introduction to personnel (advisors, administrators, contacts, etc.).

    A complete record of the organization's structure, goals and accomplishments (through complete and organized files):

    · Constitution and by-laws
    · Organizational goals and objectives for previous year(s)
    · Job descriptions/role clarification's
    · Status reports on ongoing projects
    · Evaluations of previous projects and programs
    · Previous minutes and reports
    · Resources/contacts lists with addresses and phone numbers
    · The Campus Activities & Student Organization Office handouts
    · Financial books and the Student Organization Handbook
    · Mailing lists

    Be a good, conscientious leader by providing your successor with these things.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.


  • Effective meetings require planning in advance—both on the part of the person who chairs them and of the people who participate.

    Do not have a meeting unless it is necessary—people's time is valuable and should not be wasted.

    Don't engage in political game playing or parliamentary maneuvering—members must commit themselves to the group purpose.

    Listen to what others at the meeting have to say—make sure everybody feels their voice is being heard.

    Make sure you understand the reason for a meeting—do your homework in accordance with this understanding.

    Actively engage in the discussion—but don't overpower it.

    Recognize that five kinds of knowledge are all needed for a successful meeting participant:
    · Knowledge of the subject matter at hand.
    · Knowledge of parliamentary rules of order.
    · Knowledge of rhetoric-the power to persuade.
    · Knowledge of problem solving and decision making.
    · Knowledge of human social-emotional dynamics.

    Be sure the purpose of each meeting and each item on the agenda is clear to the members:
    · To share ideas and information only.
    · To brief members before action.
    · To generate new ideas.
    · To make a decision.
    · To make a recommendation.

    Be sensitive to the physical, informational, and social needs of others—create an environment that meets these needs.

    Suggest committee work when an issue is too big for the group or the group hasn't adequately considered the topic—demand hard work and good reports from the committee.

    Adopted from the IDEAL Program from the Office of Student Activities at the University of Florida


  • Conflict is inevitable in any interpersonal relationship or among members of any group and can be a very positive experience, if managed properly. Why do we shy away from dealing with conflict? Many of us were raised to believe that conflict is something to be avoided, an experience of failure. However, conflict doesn't have to lead to failure, defeat, separation, or termination of individual relationships. We all come to see the world in different ways, and we have different ideas about what's best for us and what's best for our group. It is actually a signal that change is needed and possible.

    The ability to manage conflict is probably one of the most important social skills an individual can possess. This page is designed to help you acquire this skill. Specifically, it will offer information about:

    · The different ways in which people deal with conflict.
    · Increasing awareness of your own style of conflict management.
    · A constructive method of conflict management which will not only lead to greater satisfaction of both parties involved, but also promote growth and development of your group.

    Competing - An individual pursues his/her own concerns at the other person's expense. This is a power-oriented mode, in which one uses whatever power seems appropriate to win one's own position. Competing might mean "standing up for your rights," defending a position which you believe correct, or simply trying to influence others.

    Accommodating - The opposite of competing. When accommodating, an individual neglects his/her own concerns to satisfy the concerns of the other person; there is an element of self-sacrifice in this mode. Accommodating might take the form of selfless generosity or charity, obeying another person's order when one would prefer not to, or yielding to another's point of view.

    Avoiding - The individual does not immediately pursue his/her own concerns or those of the other person if he/she does not address the conflict. Avoiding might take the form of diplomatically sidestepping an issue, postponing an issue until a better time, or simply withdrawing from a threatening situation.

    Compromising - The objective is to find some expedient, mutually acceptable solution which partially satisfies both parties. It falls on a middle ground between competing and accommodating. Compromising gives up more than competing but less than accommodating. Likewise, it addresses an issue more directly than avoiding, but doesn't explore it in as much depth as collaborating. Compromising might mean splitting the difference, exchanging concessions, or seeking a quick middle-ground position.

    Collaborating - The opposite of avoiding. Collaborating involves an attempt to work with the other person to find some solution which fully satisfies the concerns of both. It means digging into an issue to identify the underlying concerns of the two individuals and to find a solution which meets both sets of concerns. This is clearly the most effective approach of conflict management. Specifically it will produce the following results:

    1. Both sides' needs are met
    2. Satisfaction
    3. Mutual respect
    4. Both parties feel enriched rather than belittled
    5. Continuing effort of both parties to work together

    How To Use The Collaborating Approach (Win-Win Negotiation) To Deal With Conflicts In Student Organizations

    A. Diagnosis is the starting point—determining the nature of the conflict.

    1. Is the issue a value conflict? It is extremely difficult to negotiate when the conflict is regarding a personal value. An example: a dispute over whether alcohol should be prohibited at a fundraising dance.
    2. Is the issue a difference of expectations of each other? Understanding this type of conflict lies in the fact that each of us have different expectations which grow out of our experiences with the organization. When we interact with others whose expectations have grown out of their own unique experiences with the organization, conflict arises.

    B. Initiation is the second step.

    The most effective way to confront another in a conflict situation is to state the tangible effect the conflict has on you. Example: "We have a concern in our committee. Although your position on keeping a low budget for the officer training retreat is understandable, it restricts us from having the retreat off campus, which is the desire of most members."

    C. Active Listening is the third step—negotiators must be capable of hearing the other's point of view.

    1. While listening, do not think about what to reply in order to persuade.
    2. Argument-provoking replies should be avoided.
    3. Active listening involves paraphrasing or restating what the other says. Ideas or content should be considered as well as feeling.

    D. Problem Solving is the final step.

    1. Clarify the problem. After the above steps, each party should have a clear idea about what the tangible issue is.
    2. Talk about what's needed/wanted (be clear on facts and information).
    3. Generate a list of possible solutions. While doing this, let go of the solutions that you thought you had. Be creative! The best negotiator makes the other side feel good. Start by thinking "how can I make the other side happy?"
    4. Decide together on the best solution acceptable to all parties, use consensus decision making skills. Don't try to persuade or coerce.
    5. Plan the implementation of the solution. Make assignments of who, what, where, when, and how.
    6. Plan an evaluation or review of the solution after a specified period of time.

    All five styles of conflict management obviously have advantages and disadvantages. When dealing with conflict in personal relationships, any of these types may be useful in certain situations. The last style, collaboration, however, is highly recommended for dealing with conflict in student organizations. It results in something satisfactory to both parties. People often feel proud of themselves and feel a sense of personal power when they use this method. It's a sign of integrity and self-confidence when one is able to use this method with patience regardless of how difficult the situation may be.

    Two Issues Which You Might Have To Deal With When Confronting A Conflict:

    A. People who won't negotiate

    Some people refuse to negotiate because they want to protect their special interests or privileges. Here are a few steps to take in dealing with such people.

    1. Start to negotiate anyway.

    2. Explain why it is in their interest to negotiate, why it is worthwhile to deal with the problems existing between you.

    3. Talk about how the collaboration will help them solve their problems or others' problems.

    4. Share the problem. For example, bring to their attention the joint image that you are two sub-groups for the organization.

    B. When trust is an issue

    Here are a few suggestions for this problem.

    1. Be trustworthy. Do what you said you would do.
    2. Find a higher value that you both agree on. For example, you both want to project a positive image.
    3. Listen.
    4. Make an agreement in such a way that you know when it is carried out.
    5. Start small.
    6. There are people who simply can't/won't trust you, but do your best anyway.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.


  • Being a secretary for your organization is not a job to take lightly. The following criteria are important when considering who will best fulfill this role:

    · Is this person reliable; does he/she keep appointments?

    · Is this person well organized; does he/she complete tasks in a timely manner?

    · Is this person a good listener; is he/she able to be objective, not to make his/her own interpretations, and hear both sides of an issue?

    · Is this person on top of what is going on; is he/she able to appropriately weed out the trivial information and record the important facts for the record?

    As you can see, the role of a secretary is more than "just taking minutes". The secretary, is in effect, the historian. What he/she records will be referred to by current members as a reminder of finished and unfinished business, what needs follow-up and what actions were taken. It will also be kept for future members to read to gain an understanding of where the organization has been and why. Many organizations make it the secretary's responsibility to notify the membership about upcoming meetings—time, date, location, and any important items to be discussed.

    The secretary should be present at all meetings. If he/she is unable to attend, a substitute person, preferably with the characteristics defined earlier, needs to be appointed. It is also helpful for the secretary to prepare him or herself before each meeting. A secretary should be sure to read the minutes of previous meetings, paying attention to style and format, and review the agenda and any attached documents. If the organization has agreed upon a standard format for minutes, a standardized form can be used and fill in discussions, etc. as they occur.

    If your organization has a structure that includes committees, be they ad hoc or standing, there always needs to be a secretary present to accurately record what transpired. It is not necessary to take down everything unless someone requests that their remarks be entered for the record. It is necessary, however, to take complete notes. Motions and resolutions do need to be taken verbatim and should be read back during the meeting to make sure they have been accurately recorded.

    There are several ways to take meeting minutes and each organization needs to choose the most appropriate method for them. A practical option is to record a summary of debates, agreements, and disagreements with a succinct explanation of the character of each.

    The second method is to take action minutes when decisions are reached and responsibilities are assigned. In either of these cases make note of the following:

    · The names of the people proposing any action or stating an option of a motion.
    · Take down word-for-word any motions, resolutions, amendments, decisions, or conclusions.
    · Who seconded the motion.
    · Whether or not a motion was withdrawn and what assignments were made and to whom.

    It is often helpful for both minute taking and for those attending the meeting if the chair or the secretary summarizes decisions that are reached. The summarizer should be most careful in clarifying those points of greatest controversy.

    It is the secretary's responsibility to signal the president or chairperson and ask questions regarding the subject being discussed if unsure. A secretary should not wait until the meeting has been adjourned to get clarification; individuals can lose their perspective, issues can become less important and one's memory can alter what actually occurred. Immediately after the meeting, the secretary must go over the notes while everything is still fresh, checking their notes for the following information:

    · Type of meeting (executive, standing committee, etc.)
    · Date, time and place
    · List of attendees and those absent
    · Time of call to order
    · Approval and/or amendments to previous meeting minutes
    · Record of reports from standing and special committees
    · General matters
    · Record of proposals, resolutions, motions, seconding, any final disposition, and a summary of the discussion; also record of vote
    · Time of adjournment
    · Nomination of submission and transcriber's name

    Once the minutes have been transcribed into draft form, they should be submitted to the chair for review and/or correction. Finally, once they are returned, they need to be prepared in a formal form-preferably agreed upon beforehand - for final approval at the next meeting. These minutes should be sent out to all members within 3 or 4 days of the meeting. This allows members time to read the minutes for accuracy before the next meeting and while the previous meeting is still fresh in their minds.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.

  • Developing and conducting an organizational recruitment campaign is very important. Yet, as we all know, retaining these new members is entirely another matter. All too frequently groups skip any form of orientation and just place their new members directly on committees or organizational projects. Although involvement is crucial to the longevity of the group, understanding the organization and its goals, objectives, structure, norms, and taboos is equally as important. By taking the time to orient new members to the privileges and responsibilities of membership, you create a more educated membership and a more productive organization—people who can and will make significant contributions to the organization.

    A Successful Organization Orientation Program Should Include:

    · The rights and responsibilities of members
    · Organizational governance, operating policies and procedures
    · Organizational history, traditions, and programs
    · Assimilation of new members into the organization
    · An overview of campus services, activities, and programs for student organizations
    · Information about any support groups or affiliations the group may have

    When planning your orientation program keep this word in mind - AIM

    Acquaint Inform Motivate

    The purpose of any new member orientation program is to acquaint your new members to both the organization and each other. Knowing the ins-and-outs of the group is only one aspect of being in an organization. It is important to remember that people join groups for many reasons: they want to get involved, learn new skills, make friends, and have a good time. For this reason, it is important to structure time for the members to get to know each other and to develop personal relationships and commitments. A weekend retreat is usually the most effective method. The following is an often used getting acquainted exercise:

    1. Pair off with someone you don't know.
    2. On a sheet of paper, write down 10 words or phrases that describe yourself.
    3. Take five minutes to tell your partner about yourself—do not go over the list.
    4. After you've talked to your partner, write down five words or phrases to describe him or her.
    5. Swap lists and compare yours with the one that your partner made of you.
    6. Gather into a group of six or more and introduce your partner to the rest of the group. Try to include as much information as you can recall.

    Officers should be included in this exercise. When all of the groups have finished, have the officers take time to tell the entire group about themselves; be sure they include their job descriptions. For additional ideas on how to acquaint new members to your organization, visit with a CASO coordinator who will share with you any ideas he/she may have.

    This section of the orientation process should cover the organization's history, purpose, and structure. If there are written records, give everyone a copy. Be sure to include organizational charts, officer job descriptions, and a membership list, complete with phone numbers. Have the new members included on this list!

    If you do not have a written history, have the group write one. To do so, place newsprint on the wall and choose a scribe. Next, ask the membership to tell what they know about the organization: how the group was formed, when and where it started, what past members were like, the programs and/or services that they offered, how the organization was structured and how it has evolved over the years. Go back as far as you can. When recording this information, be creative and think up interesting chapter titles.

    It is important to remember that this is an oral history and that you are recording people's perceptions about the group. These may not be totally accurate. However, they are important perceptions. They influence how people, both members and non-members, think and feel about the group. This collective writing of your group's history also provides an opportunity for the leadership to dispel any myths and rumors that may be brought up.

    Get your members, returning and newly recruited, excited about the group. Provide time for them to meet each other to share ideas and expectations. Below is a good exercise designed to accomplish that goal.

    Have the group break into groups of experienced and new members to discuss the following:

    Experienced Members
    · If you had last year to do over again, would you do anything differently? If yes, how so?
    · What advice would you offer to the new members?
    · Of which accomplishment(s) are you most proud?

    New Members
    · What would you like this organization to mean to you one year from now?
    · What would you like to ask the experienced members?
    · What goals would you like to accomplish this year?
    · What problems do you anticipate, and how would you solve them?

    Spend at least 15 minutes in your group discussing these questions. When time is up, gather together as one group and report what you discussed. It is usually most effective to have the experienced members report first, followed by the new members.

    It is also very important to find out what the new members' interests are and what skills they bring to the group. Using this information, try to give them tasks which will successfully use their talents and give them a reason to be committed. Whenever possible, recognize members' accomplishments both publicly and privately.

    By including the above suggestions in your new member orientation program you will discover that you have built group cohesion. By following these tips you will ensure:

    · New members know the organization and are able to articulate the purpose
    · Members understand their rights and responsibilities to self and organization
    · Leadership and discipline.

    The purpose of organization orientation is to make effective members who make an efficient organization.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.


  • See Parliamentary Procedure for more info.

  • So, you're going to plan a big event, but you don't know where to start. Don't panic. This page is designed to help you through this process and smooth out the rough spots of planning and preparing for a successful and memorable event.

    The first step is to determine why you are putting on the event. Some questions that may help you clarify what you are doing and why include:

    * What do you want to achieve by having this program?
    * What are your organizational goals and how will this event help you meet them?
    * What do you, as the planners, want to get out of this experience?
    * Is there a current need or an interest in this program area?
    * Are other similar programs being offered?
    * Has a similar event been held in the past?
    * What was the response?
    * Are your members enthusiastic about organizing this event?
    * Is organizing this program worth your members’ time?
    * Is there enough time to thoroughly organize, publicize, and promote the program so that it will be successful?

    Once you have satisfactorily answered these questions, planning the program is really quite easy if you follow these simple steps:

    Identify Needs
    Who is the audience and what does the audience want to see or experience with this kind of program? What are the audience's needs? What method of assessment will you use to determine this (e.g., word of mouth, surveys, or a suggestion box)? How big do you want this program to be? Does the type of event you're planning limit the audience size? If so, how will you determine who can attend?

    Develop Program Goals And Objectives
    After you have identified your program's audience and needs, which ones do you want to have your event address? Define specifically what you want the participants to learn or experience from the program. This will be the goal of your program or event.

    Be clear about the kind of program you are planning, i.e., social, cultural, educational, or a fundraiser. Identify other resources to help you when and where necessary.

    Organize Your Plans
    What do you specifically need to do to accomplish your objectives? When do you want to hold this event? Be sure to consider whether or not you have enough time to make all the necessary arrangements and whether or not your members will be able to complete all of their tasks. Many program planners find it helpful to make a timeline working in reverse; start at the day of the event and fill in publicity deadlines, facility agreements, etc. This can help you see if you are being realistic or if you are setting yourself up to be unable to meet your obligations. Getting everything down on paper is an arduous process, but is rewarding and a great learning experience. It will give you a tremendous sense of accomplishment. For many, this process is rewarding as the program itself.

    Scheduling Facilities
    Where you hold your program is very important. Facilities can determine audience size, date, and time. It can set the mood for formal, informal, workshop, or auditorium style.

    Establish A Budget
    How much money do you have to work with? Will revenues need to be generated? What kind of resources do you have at your disposal to raise money or cover costs? If you plan on charging admission, it is important to consider what costs you anticipate this fee will cover as well as how much you can reasonably expect participants to pay.

    Other questions to address are: Will there be a reduced rate for early registration? Will students be charged less than faculty, staff, and community participants? Will tickets/registration be taken at the event or beforehand?

    Methods And Resources
    Another thing to consider is that oftentimes speakers and entertainers will want you to sign a contract. Be sure to read it thoroughly and have your advisor review the contract. If you have questions, make a notation and ask for clarification. (Check with a staff member at CASO if you have any questions or concerns about a contract.)

    There are many different ways to publicize an event: Posters, flyers, banners, bus signs, newspaper display ads, public service announcements, etc.

    Program Details, Follow-Up And Clean-Up
    Be sure to make a list of what needs to be done before, during, and after the event. What are your equipment needs? Do you need registration tables? Special power hook-ups for speakers, computers, telephones? Be sure to ask your speakers what materials or equipment they need in order to do their part.

    Implement Plans
    Be very clear in the beginning who will perform what tasks and what roles and expectations everyone has of each other. Be realistic when delegating tasks and responsibilities. Give people enough time to complete their work, and assign to them things that are within their capabilities—set people up to succeed.

    Evaluate The Event
    The evaluation process is threefold: 1) the audience's feedback, 2) the presenter's experience and recommendations, and 3) the planner's thoughts and recommendations. Each group should be asked whether they feel the program accomplished what it was intended to. What went well? What could have been better?

    There are several different methods of obtaining this information, but the most frequently used is a written evaluation distributed following the program. When the program planners evaluate the event, be sure to find out whether there was sufficient time allowed for planning and implementation. Did the program reach the goals and objectives? What should be done next time that wasn't this time? Did the anticipated audience attend?

    A well thought-out and thorough evaluation is an educational aspect of programming. It allows you to learn from your successes and learn what is to be improved. Evaluations can also serve in a historical file for the organization and can be a useful reference for future programmers.

    Some General Tips On Program Planning
    In the ideal program, everything runs so smoothly that the participants may see little evidence of pre-planning or behind the scenes work.

    * Don't compromise on details or settle for second best.
    * Don't assume anything or allow situations that make you uncertain or nervous to continue. Meet all problems head-on, sensitively and firmly.
    * People support what they help create, so involve as many people as meaningfully as possible in the planning process.
    * Usually something goes wrong-but if you're properly prepared and avoid panicking, almost any problem can be solved.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.


  • Think back to your first few days working on your project or in your position. You probably had many, many questions and no one or nothing to turn to. Take the responsibility NOW to make sure this does not happen to the person who takes your place next year. Prepare a transition notebook.

    1. Introduction
    a. Table of contents
    b. Contact sheet for new leadership/membership
    c. Birthday list
    d. Blank volunteer agreement contract to be completed

    2. Letter from advisor
    a. Welcome
    b. Role and responsibilities
    c. How to get in touch with him/her

    3. Historical documents:
    a. Constitution
    b. Mission statement
    c. Coals and objectives
    d. History of organization and committee/program
    e. Job description
    f. Organizational chart for organization
    g. Officer selection process information (and timeline)
    h. Membership recruitment information (and timeline)

    4. Evaluation
    a. Completed evaluation with detailed recommendations
    b. Two blank evaluations (one for each term which can be written during the term)

    5. Progress Reports
    a. Completed progress reports
    b. Blank progress reports (to be completed throughout the year) with guidelines. A progress report provides the "working draft" for most of the transition notebook. It should provide the member with a opportunity to write down what is new or different, what has been improved upon, what is in progress, accomplishments, etc.

    6. Officer Position
    a. Demographics from current year (number of men/women, classifications, etc.)
    b. Letter from former to new coordinator or officer (should include advice, what was experienced, what was improved upon this year, things to know when getting started, prioritizing the tasks for the position and anything else not mentioned; usually written very informally
    c. Blank "Bright Ideas" sheet (to be used throughout the year; ideas that can help move the organization)
    d. Current goals
    e. Blank goals sheet
    f. Detailed timeline
    g. Any other information pertinent to position

    7. Training information
    a. Agendas and handouts from past training retreats or meetings
    b. Information on the "how to's" of the organization (such as publicity, financial
    matters, etc.)

    8. Organizational information
    a. Calendar of events
    b. Meeting agendas and minutes
    c. Resources
    d. Instructions on how to sign on to your organization's electronic mail, message group or conference

    A transition notebook can be shared during the meetings with your replacement. It should cover all aspects of your responsibilities and how those tasks fit into the organization's big picture.

    Recommend that your replacement file "historical" documents in the notebook such as meeting minutes when he/she has become comfortable with the information. This way, the notebook can be used as a working tool rather than something to be completed at the end of the year (usually during finals!).

    Each organization is different, so feel free to add and delete topics. Your replacement will thank you throughout the year!

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.


  • Do you dread attending meetings because they are dull, unproductive, disorganized, and too long? With proper planning and preparation, any meeting can be effective and enjoyable.

    Meetings have several functions. They give members a chance to discuss and evaluate goals and objectives, keep updated on current events, provide a chance to communicate, and keep the group cohesive. But most of all, meetings allow groups to pull resources together for decision making. If the facilitator starts with a careful plan and finishes with a thorough follow-up, the meeting will "run smooth". The following are some tips to help you make your next meeting successful, productive, and even fun.

    Before The Meeting
    1. Define the purpose of the meeting.
    2. Develop an agenda with the officers and advisor. Below is a sample agenda:

    Call to Order
    Approval of Agenda
    Correction and Approval of Minutes
    Treasurer's Report
    Committee Reports
    Unfinished Business
    New Business
    Special Issues

    3. Distribute the agenda and circulate background material, lengthy documents, or articles prior to the meeting so members will be prepared and feel involved and up-to-date.

    4. Choose an appropriate meeting time. Set a time limit and stick to it, if possible. Remember, members have other commitments. They will be more likely to attend meetings if you make them productive, predictable, and as short as possible.

    5. If possible, arrange the room so that members face each other, i.e., a circle or semi-circle. For large groups, try U-shaped rows.

    6. Choose a location suitable to your group's size. Small rooms with too many people get stuffy and create tension. A larger room is more comfortable and encourages individual expression.

    7. Use visual aids for interest (e.g., posters, diagrams, etc.). Post a large agenda up front to which members can refer.

    8. Vary meeting places if possible to accommodate different members. Be sure everyone knows where and when the next meeting will be held.

    During The Meeting
    1. Greet members and make them feel welcome, even late members when appropriate.

    2. If possible, serve light refreshments; they are good icebreakers and make your members feel special and comfortable.

    3. Start on time. End on time.

    4. Review the agenda and set priorities for the meeting.

    5. Stick to the agenda.

    6. Encourage group discussion to get all points of view and ideas. You will have better quality decisions as well as highly motivated members; they will feel that attending meetings is worth their while.

    7. Encourage feedback. Ideas, activities, and commitment to the organization improve when members see their impact on the decision making process.

    8. Keep conversation focused on the topic. Feel free to ask for only constructive and non-repetitive comments. Tactfully end discussions when they are getting nowhere or becoming destructive or unproductive.

    9. Keep minutes of the meeting for future reference in case a question or problem arises.

    10. As a leader, be a role model by listening, showing interest, appreciation, and confidence in members. Admit mistakes.

    11. Summarize agreements reached and end the meeting on a unifying or positive note. For example, have members volunteer thoughts of things they feel have been good or successful or reiterate the organization's mission.

    12. Set a date, time, and place for the next meeting.

    After The Meeting
    1. Write up and distribute minutes within three to four days. Quick action reinforces importance of meeting and reduces errors of memory.

    2. Discuss any problems during the meeting with other officers; come up with ways improvements can be made.

    3. Follow up on delegation decisions. See that all members understand and carry-out their responsibilities.

    4. Give recognition and appreciation to excellent and timely progress.

    5. Put unfinished business on the agenda for the next meeting.

    6. Conduct a periodic evaluation of the meetings. Note any areas that can be analyzed and improved for more productive meetings. A sample meeting evaluation checklist is below.

    Meeting Evaluation Checklist

    The meeting was well planned.
    1. Members were notified in advance.
    2. There was a pre-arranged agenda.
    3. Officers and committees were ready to report.
    4. The meeting room was pre-arranged.

    The meeting was well organized.
    5. The meeting started on time.
    6. Guests were introduced and welcomed.
    7. Agendas were available for all members.
    8. The purpose for the meeting was made clear.
    9. There was a transition from the last meeting.
    10. One topic was discussed at a time.
    11. One person has the floor at a time.
    12. Discussion was relevant.
    13. The chairperson summarized the main points of the discussion.
    14. The meeting moved along at a workable pace.
    15. Committee assignments were complete and clear.
    16. Plans for the next meeting were announced.
    17. All that was planned for the meeting was covered.

    Participation in the meeting.
    18. Members participated in discussion and voting.
    19. The chairperson made good use of questions.
    20. The pros and cons of all issues were considered.
    21. Members gave suggestions to committees.
    22. Responsibilities were evenly distributed.
    23. Members participated in planning the agenda for the next meeting.

    The value of the meeting.
    24. Progress was made toward goals.
    25. Something was learned.

    Attitude of the meeting.
    26. Attendance was good.
    27. Everyone present was on time.
    28. Members knew one another.
    29. There was a "warm up" period before the meeting.
    30. There was some humor during the meeting.
    31. Members and officers helped one another when needed.
    32. There was an atmosphere of free expression.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.


  • Goals help define your organization, give direction, and avoid chaos. Goals can help motivate members by communicating what the organization is striving for as well as providing a basis of recognizing accomplishments and successes. Organizations that set goals are more effective in recruiting members.

    There are three levels of defining your organization's priorities:

    1. Purpose or Mission is a broad, general statement that tells why your organization exists: it usually doesn't change from year to year and is often the first statement in your constitution.

    2. Goals are statements describing what your organization wishes to accomplish, stemming from your purpose or mission. Goals are the ends toward which your efforts will be directed and often change from term to term or year to year, depending on the nature of the group.

    3. Objectives are descriptions of exactly what needs to be done, as derived from the goals; they are clear specific statements of measurable tasks that will be accomplished as steps towards reaching your goals. They are short term and have deadlines.

    Setting Goals Together

    Set your goals as a group. This creates many positive results because people will support and be responsible for what they help create. You can expect:

    1. Greater commitment and motivation among officers and members to help achieve goals.
    2. Clearer understanding of the goals and the rationale for selecting them.
    3. With everyone's ideas and opinions considered, your goals will represent a group consensus rather than one person's opinion.

    Steps for Setting Goals & Objectives:

    1. Brainstorm a list of potential goals as a group.
    2. Choose from the brainstorm list those you want to work on.
    3. Prioritize.
    4. Determine objectives for each goal and plans of action for each objective. (Remember there can be several objectives for each goal.)
    5. Move into action and follow through. (Many groups fail to evaluate and revise, thus their goals are never achieved.)

    Developing An Action Plan
    · What is to be done?
    · How will it be accomplished?
    · What are your resources in terms of people, money, and materials?
    · Who is responsible for completing each task?
    · What is the deadline?
    · How will you know when it is accomplished? How will you measure the results?

    Example of an Action Plan:

    An Objective: To develop a committee whose purpose is to increase member involvement to at least 40% by next term.

    How: Brainstorm ideas to increase member involvement. Go over this list and weed out all the ideas that are impractical or impossible to do. Discuss this edited list with the executive board/leadership. Determine which will be done and delegate the final process of setting up this system to one or two executive officers.

    Resources: Members, executive officers, CASO coordinators, handouts on recruitment, motivation, and delegation.

    Deadlines: Set deadlines for this action plan
    Who: Executive board and consultants
    When: By next term (try to set a specific date if possible)


    Acceptable—membership involvement increases by 40–70 percent.
    Better than Expected—membership involvement increases by more than 70 percent.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.


  • 1. Laugh. It's one of the healthiest antidotes to stress. When we laugh (or even smile), blood flow to the brain is increased, endorphins (painkilling hormones that give us a sense of well-being) are released, and levels of stress hormones drop.

    2. Get Rid of Anger. It is the single most damaging stress-related personality trait that precedes a heart attack.

    3. Be Decisive. Indecision prevents you from taking action, causing a loss of a sense of control and thus intensifying stress.

    4. Be Assertive. Stand up for your decisions, express your feelings, and disagree with others when you feel differently. Give, as well as accept, compliments.

    5. Get Some Sleep. Lack of adequate sleep can make you moody, angry, and more vulnerable to illness and the daily stresses that stalk you.

    6. Adapt Your Environment. Color, lighting, and noise are all elements that engage and influence our senses.

    7. Encourage Yourself. Negative self-talk is a major stress-maker. Those who accept mishaps as largely routine and normal occurrences in life and who talk to themselves in positive terms about these events have higher self-esteem and much lower stress levels.

    8. Choose Winners. Seek the company of those who are optimistic and have high self-esteem. They tend to have low stress levels and contribute to lower stress levels of those around them.

    9. Reward Yourself. Those who reward themselves by engaging in something pleasurable realize a boost in the disease-fighting quality of their immune systems for several days.

    10. Delegate. Those who don't learn to delegate become overloaded with unfinished tasks, making them stressed, less productive, and isolated by their excessive expectations.

    11. Don't Procrastinate. It lessens productivity, not only compounding stress but also causing the stressful by-products of guilt, anger, and low self-esteem.

    12. Live by Lists. Having a daily written list of what you expect to do will help you become more realistic about your schedule and remind you of tasks you do not want to forget. By listing a task, you also relieve stress by removing the thought from your mind, which helps to lessen mental overload, a common occurrence in stressed people.

    13. Relax. Breathe deeply. Visualize something pleasurable. Meditate. Concentrate on present, tangible situations. Inhale aromatic oils. Listen to soothing music.

    Adopted from the IDEAL Program from the Office of Student Activities at the University of Florida.

  • The decision is yours—to get a degree or an education. Any active student involved in student groups or volunteering in the community can attest to the learning acquired and the satisfaction experienced through involvement. By combining the skills you develop through co-curricular involvement and the knowledge gained in the classroom, you will be much better prepared in exploring and developing your total potential.

    Texas State University, as a part of educational mission, supports and encourages participation in co-curricular activities as an integral part of your total education. The advantage of our large campus is the hundreds of diverse opportunities offered each year. In addition to campus life, the community of San Marcos has many additional opportunities for participation and service. Whether you wish to explore a new activity widen your circle of friends, or promote knowledge of a cause, there is probably an organization in existence to suit your needs.

    What are the Benefits?

    To You

    Sense of achievement

    Self-development and personal growth

    Small groups with similar interests

    Develop leadership skills and values, such as problem solving, communication, organization, and responsibility to society

    Expand your circle of friends

    Balance for your academic life

    Valuable campus and community contacts

    Employment advantage after graduation

    Recognition for your hard work

    Enjoying the activity itself

    To the University

    Involved and informed students

    Resources to address issues and concerns

    Joint partnerships between students, faculty, and staff

    To the Community

    Valuable services performed

    College graduates with leadership qualities and abilities

    Future leaders with knowledge, skills, and integrity

    College provides the best setting for you to explore your potential, take more risks, and try new experiences and ideas. Don't hesitate—get involved now! You may ask yourself, in what activities should I become involved? These four simple questions will help you make your decision.

    1. What have I been involved with previously? (Think about the projects and organizations in which you have been involved.)

    2. What did I gain from those activities? (Make a list of the skills, knowledge, personal contacts, etc. that you gained from those prior experiences.)

    3. What new skills and abilities would I like to gain? (What new skills would you like to develop through your new involvements?)

    4. What am I interested in getting involved in? (Based on the skills you would like to acquire or develop, decide what activities will afford you the opportunity to develop those skills.)

    Remember to make your co-curricular activities as growth producing and fun as possible. Make intentional choices about your involvement!

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.




    Have you ever asked yourself how some people are able to work so many different activities into their schedules while others barely seem to have the time to attend classes? Are they smarter? Doubtful. More organized? Probably. Better at managing time? Likely.

    Time management is important to any person, but particularly to student organization members and leaders. Involvement in co-curricular activities means that in addition to classes, homework, meals, jobs, and socializing, another significant amount of time is taken up with organizational obligations. This page is designed to provide you with some suggestions on how to more effectively manage your time.

    It is important to note that time management is a personal skill; only you know your peak work hours, your attention span, and your eating and sleeping needs, which must all be planned for. Finding a time management strategy that best fits your needs is important. The following steps can help you determine your strategy.

    The Big Five
    The five steps to effective time management are:
    1. Plan
    2. Assess
    3. Organize
    4. Prioritize
    5. Schedule

    Research and personal experiences have shown that individuals who set personal goals have a greater chance of success. These individuals have determined, and set on paper what they would like to achieve and how they would like to get there. Their goals are realistic, believable, and achievable. People who set goals also evaluate their progress and make any necessary changes on a regular basis. So, if you want to better manage your time, your first step is to set the goals you would like to achieve, either for the semester, year, or throughout your college career.

    Your next step is to assess how you are currently using your time. You cannot make productive changes unless you know what areas need to be changed. Keep a time log for three days from the time you get up until the time that you go to bed. Describe your specific activities in 15 minute blocks.

    The activity should be detailed (and can include) comments. Prioritize your activities:A, important to you; B, important to others; and C, maintenance (basic human needs). Maintenance items may become A priority items. For example, exercising may be maintenance once it becomes a habit but could be an A priority until then.

    Next, analyze your time log. Answer the following questions:

    1. Were there any surprises?

    2. Would you judge this to be a typical week?

    3. What patterns could you identify in your time-wasters? Interruptions?

    4. What part of the week would you consider most productive? Least productive?

    5. What time of the day do you feel was most productive? Least productive?

    6. What activities would you like to eliminate totally? What would be the cost of doing so? What is the cost of not eliminating them?

    7. Which activities during the week do you deem most rewarding? Would you like to spend more time doing them in the future? What is your plan for doing so?

    Have someone review your time log. An objective observer may be able to point out discrepancies or patterns that you did not see.

    Ideally, you should make a list each morning of everything that you want or need to do for that day. Do not plan out every minute and don't even think about which task is most important, just write them all down. Some people find it more helpful to list their "things to do" in 5 to 7 day groupings. In this way they can plan for longer projects and get a better sense of their week. Whichever method you choose, keep in mind that everyone has good and bad days. Don't hide if you don't accomplish everything, just include the uncompleted tasks to your next day’s list and get them done.

    After you have recorded these "things to do", go over the list and rewrite in priority order which things you need to do at the top and less important/pressing tasks at the bottom. Keep in mind due dates, commitments you have made, and whether or not these tasks involve other people. If the items are for class, it is important to consider how much of the final grade they are worth. How you choose to prioritize is a very personal matter. What is important is that you are responsible with your priorities. Review your personal goals. How do these priorities fit with your goals?

    The last thing to do is to take this list and begin to work these "things to do" into your schedule. You cannot plan every minute of your day. Remember to leave room for breaks, socializing, and those unexpected things that pop up. There's no use making a schedule that is impossible to follow.

    Many college students find it helpful to keep a schedule book for the year. At the beginning of the semester, write down your classes, assignment due dates, and exams. Carry your planner with you if you write your "to do" list in it!

    Try these suggestions, see what works for you best, and then be sure to integrate them into your learning lifestyle. Learning effective time management now will help you throughout your personal life and professional career.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.


  • Group process refers to how an organization's members work together to get things done. Typically, organizations spend a great deal of time and energy setting and striving to reach goals but give little consideration to what is happening between and to the group's greatest resource - its members. While working hard to achieve results, it is critical that members' needs be addressed. Membership in an organization is as much an opportunity to develop self-confidence, refine skills, and make friends as it is to support a cause, fundraise, or educate the campus community. All of these can be done simultaneously, but most likely will not just happen on their own.

    Effective organizations take a close look at how members work together, which roles they fill and whether members are contributing equally. Through group process, observation, and analysis can help identify problems early, thus alleviating the need for a major overhaul as the year progresses. Your vantage point as a group member provides a great opportunity to regularly observe how things are going. Depending on the frequency of meetings and an understanding of what to look for, you can be instrumental in ensuring group and individual success.

    Elements of an organization which typically influence group proceedings include communication, participation, decision making, and role fulfillment. When observing these specific areas you will likely see several things happening simultaneously. This is to be expected, but it can also be rather confusing. Initially, you may want to isolate a single aspect of the group. As you become more adept at observation, you can gradually increase your areas of focus. Listed below are several questions to ask yourself as you begin observing a group.

    One of the easiest aspects of group process to observe is the pattern of communication:

    1) Who talks? For how long? How often?
    2) At whom do people look when they speak?
    a. Single-out individuals, possible potential supporters
    b. The group
    c. No one
    3) Who talks after whom? Who interrupts whom?
    4) What style of communication is used (assertions, questions, tone of voice, gestures, etc.)?

    The kinds of observations we make give us clues to other important things which may be going on in the group (e.g., such as who leads whom or who influences whom). If you are uncomfortable observing the group, a consultant from the center can observe your group's process and share that information with you.

    One indication of involvement is verbal participation. Look for differences in the amount of participation among members.

    Who are the high participants? Who are the low participants?

    Do you see any shift in participation (e.g., highs become quiet; lows suddenly become talkative)? What are possible reasons for this in the group's interaction?

    How are the silent people treated? How is their silence interpreted? Consent? Disagreement? Disinterest? Fear? Etc.?

    Who talks to whom? Do you see any reason for this in the group's interactions?

    Who keeps the ball rolling? Why? Do you see any reason for this in the group's interactions?

    Decision Making
    Many kinds of decisions are made in groups without considering the effects that these decisions will have on other members. Some people try to impose their own decisions on the group, while others want all members to participate or share in the decision making process.

    • Does anyone make a decision and carry it out without checking with other group members (self-authorized)? For example, one person decides on the topic to be discussed and immediately begins to talk about it. What effect does this have on other group members?
    • Does the group drift from topic to topic? Who topic-jumps? Do you see any reason for this in the group's interactions?
    • Who supports other members' suggestions or decisions? Does this support result in the two members deciding the topic or activity for the group (handclasp)? How does this effect the other group members?
    • Is there any evidence of a majority pushing a decision through over other members objections? Do they call for a vote (majority support)?
    • Is there any attempt to get all members participating in a decision (consensus)? What effect does this seem to have on the group?
    • Does anyone make any contributions which do not receive any kind of response or recognition? What effect does this have on the member?

    Organizational Roles
    A variety of crucial roles need to be filled to ensure group goal accomplishment and success. Roles are distributed among three types:

    Primarily expressed through trying to accomplish group tasks. Examples: initiator- contributor, information seeker and giver, elaborater, orientator, energizer, recorder.

    Oriented toward improving relationships among members. Examples: encourager, harmonizer, compromiser.

    Focuses on personal needs regardless of group concerns. Examples: aggressor, recognition seeker, dominator, blocker.

    Process observation requires patience and the ability to focus on everyone in the group. Paying attention to these questions and roles can help you to better understand how the group is affecting its member and vice versa.

    Adapted from the Student Activities and Leadership Office at the University of Michigan.