Tuesday, October 17, 2017
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It can be confronting to attend and participate in meetings but they can be very productive.  Here are some tips and tricks to help you participate effectively.

 

Why meetings?

  • Get a group of people together and tell your story once
  • Save time
  • Have your say
  • Everyone will have the same understanding of your issue

 

Tips and Tricks

 

Be prepared

Be clear about your issue and what you want done about it.  Use the ‘Self-advocacy Step-by-Step Plan’ (2.3) to help this process.

 

Plan any questions you might like to ask.

Talk to others and get their input. Ask a friend to come with you if you want support.

 

Make the meeting suitable

Be sure the meeting is organised for a day and time that suits you as well as the others attending.

If the meeting is about you it’s OK to insist it’s at a day or time that suits you (and your friend or supporter).

Tell meeting organisers about any accessibility needs you have.

 

Take what you need

Take your Self-advocacy Step-by-Step Plan (2.3) and list of questions.

Take copies of any important documents, including records of any other important communication.

Take a friend or supporter with you if needed.


Participate effectively

Stick to the point of the meeting.

Don’t take over the meeting, let others have their say.

Listen to what others have to say. Acknowledge what they’ve said even if you don’t agree.

If others interrupt, take over or talk about unimportant things, it’s OK to ask them to let you finish or get back to the point.  For example:

“If we could get back to what we were talking about”

or “Can we focus on the topic”

If people are talking over the top of you, you can use statements such as

“if I can finish what I was saying…”

Or “Please let me have my say”

 

Record

Take notes during the meeting (or ask your friend or supporter to). You might note down what is discussed, what is agreed or who will do what after the meeting.

If official notes or minutes are taken ask to have a copy sent to you.

 

Alternatives

If you find meetings impossible ask if there is something else that can be done, for instance:

  • Meet with one person only
  • Have them come to you
  • Talk over the phone or via the computer / internet
  • Discuss issues by email
  • Ask a ‘proxy’ to attend (someone who attends on your behalf)