Pace and Flow of the Meeting

It is the responsibility of the planners and the Emcee to be concerned for the pace and flow of the meeting. This is an intangible but vital part of the success of any meeting.

The meeting planners should develop a detailed plan for the meeting with time allotments. They should walk through the meeting mentally to see how it “feels” at each stage. Will there be awkward transitions? Will it feel rushed and crammed at points? Will it drag? After careful planning and attention to the pace and flow, the Emcee will still need to have liberty to make on the spot adjustments due to unforeseen developments. The goal is that the group will not be time-conscious or distracted by the pace of the meeting.

Here are some guidelines:

1. Build in opportunities for people to stand or move around at various parts in the meeting to avoid tiredness.

2. Try to intersperse active, participative times with periods of passive listening.

3. Vary the pace and tempo of the music; not too many slow, minor-key songs in a row; not too many energetic, tiring hymns in a row. Avoid a string of new unfamiliar songs.

4. A string of long announcements or reports can kill the flow of a meeting. Spread them out. Shorten them.

5. Think through the transitions. Will there be an awkward pause after the message while musicians get ready? Do you need a transition between a funny skit and heart-wrenching testimony? What will the group likely be feeling after the testimony and what would be an appropriate response? Be realistic, as transitions do take up meeting time. Factor in time for transitions when you’re planning the meeting.