November 10, 2013

Embrace the meeting

Several years ago, Optimist International leaders began promoting a slight change in language for one to use when inviting someone to attend an Optimist Club meeting. Instead of using the word "meeting," they said you should invite someone to a breakfast, lunch, or gathering. It was their opinion that no one wanted to attend a meeting, but that they had to eat. Maybe so, but I know that I wouldn't be too pleased with a friend or an associate if they asked me to lunch only to find out that I was really part of a membership drive at their service club. And a gathering? Well, for me, that just brings to mind some sort of cult. My mind races to immortals, as depicted in the movie franchise "Highlander," when the gathering would bring all of their kind together to fight until there was only one.

Post by Urbandale Optimist Club invites people, members and others, to attend a gathering

Post by Urbandale Optimist Club invites people, members and others, to attend a gathering. 

I admit that even I have promoted the use of online calendars to and press releases to promote Optimist Club guest speakers as forums and lectures as topics of general interest. I still stand behind that idea; however, I don't agree with obfuscating that your reason for bringing people together is to conduct an Optimist Club meeting.

Meetings are an important part of our culture for the word itself implies that people are coming together for a purpose. That purpose might be social, educational, inspirational, or devotional, among other things; but it is its purposeful focus that helps us get things done. Meetings are important because:

  • In meetings, we learn about issues, share ideas, and develop plans to address problems, promote goodness, and make our world a better place to live.
  • Meetings are time-conscious. While there are always outliers, most meetings begin and end in a reasonable amount of time. Personally, I have no idea how long a gathering may last and depending on my schedule, I may not be willing to find out.
  • Meetings provide a sense of formality. Please don't confuse being formal to wearing a suit and tie; it doesn't matter what you wear to the occasion. Formality means that someone is accountable for what happens before, during and after the meeting. Someone cares enough to engage others and see projects through to the end.

I like the formality and accountability of the meeting process. I, for one, embrace the meeting and I encourage you to do so too.

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