Setting consistent meeting times and regular communication is key to the success of your group, but without a bit of experimentation, you may not find what works best. Each compliments the other.
Set up a regular schedule for your meetings. Refresh Austin meets the second Tuesday of every month from 7:00 to 9:00pm. Those few times when we’ve had to find a new venue, we have made sure to get a guarantee from the new spot that we will have that day and time every month. Switching the day, time or location in any but the most extreme of circumstances is a recipe for confusion, resulting in reduced participation. Make a choice and stick with it for at least three months.
Your members will appreciate the consistent schedule as that gives them a chance to arrange for babysitters, reschedule other events and make it easy for them to avoid conflicts down the line.
It’s easy to let the days slip by without sending an update to the group, yet we all hate a communication vacuum. Make sure you let people know what’s happening early and often. This is your opportunity to build some excitement and provide some warning when change is in the air. Once you have established your routines and the group is running smoothly, make sure you continue to send updates. I cannot stress this enough – update update update!
It’s important to try things – what works for one group may not work for another, so be willing to give something different a shot. This may seem to go against the consistency point above, but it’s the one way that you can strike the right balance.
Be ready to kill off an experiment if it isn’t working, but make sure that you won’t frustrate the members of the group with too many changes in too short of a time. Don’t forget to communicate the changes and the reasons behind them to the group. People don’t likely care about all of the details, but everyone likes to know that there’s a reason for a chance.