Thank you for serving the IOA and our profession as a Society President.
As Society President, you are required to hold at least four society members per year. Many societies meet more often, but four meetings is a minimum to maintain society continuity and to keep your society informed.
This page will help you get an idea of how to hold a society meeting. Please keep in mind that this page is not all-inclusive. All Society Presidents need to read the Policy Manual, particularly the areas in the policy manual that describe how to hold meetings.
Some Helpful Points on How to Hold a Society Meeting:
Make sure it works for YOU! Since you are in charge, these meetings have to be planned around your schedule. Find a date that works for you. Choose a location that works for you. Don't make this hard on yourself!
Choose a time and date that is consistent. This will make attendance easier for others. Consistent meeting days and times will help maximize participation over time. (For example, meetings are the first Wednesday of the month at 6pm.)
Choose a location. You will want to find a place that can accommodate the amount of members you are expecting. You will want a fair price for these accommodations - besides the room reservation cost also consider what you are offering at your meeting - appetizers/meal/drinks? Most importantly, you will want your location to be convenient. It is good to choose a central location so that all members can easily attend, but make sure this location is easy for you to travel to as well! You will have to arrive to the meeting earlier to insure proper set up.
It is key to ask at the end of the first few initial meetings if there are any problems for members to make the date and location. See if there are any good suggestions. It is okay to try to accommodate, but make sure it works for YOU!
Let's get these meetings started! Okay, so you now have your time, date, and location, it is time to get the word out! Obtain an updated mailing list and email list of all the ODs in your Society form the IOA office. All IOA members in your Society need to be notified of the meeting. If you are holding a CE event ALL ODs (IOA Members and Non members) in your Society geographic area.
Try to set a schedule several months in advance so that members can plan ahead and so that you can have plenty of time to finalize arrangements.
Develop your core group. There will be members in your society that you will be able to count on. These individuals will always show up to your meetings. They will generally respond to your invite quickly, and do their best to get others to come with them. This is your core group. The more consistent you are about your meeting dates, times, and locations, the quicker you will develop that core group.
What to meet about? There are a variety of topics to discuss at your meetings. It's okay to hold a small, formal meeting to update society members on what the IOA is doing or important topics concerning optometry. It can also be as simple as having a conference call with the IOA Executive Director or inviting an equipment representative to demo equipment. Or invite a pharmaceutical rep to discuss meds (this is OK as long as you are not offering CE). You can also reach out to the President's Cabinet to see if one of them would like to speak at your meeting. Throughout the year, seasonal parties are popular meetings and a good way to get to know your society members. You can also team up with a neighboring society to hold a joint meeting.
Holding a CE event. Another meeting option is holding continuing education event. CE is not hard to put on. There are just some simple rules that need to be followed to be in compliance with the law. CE can be on any eye care related topic as long as it is unbiased and objective.
This is what you have to do to put on CE:
1. Find a speaker and determine topic. Often local Opthalmologists are eager to talk on an area of his/her expertise.
2. Fill out the CE request form and submit to Char at least 60 days prior to CE meeting date.
3. Notify ALL ODs (IOA Members AND Non Member) in your Society zone about the CE event. You can choose to charge non members a fee to attend, but non IOA members MUST be invited to the CE.
4. Everyone in attendance will need to fill out a CE form that the IOA office will give you. You collect the CE forms and return them to the IOA office.
5. An hour of CE must be 50 minutes in length.
6. CE events are still considered a society meeting. Please be sure to at least include some informal information about the IOA at you event. This is a good opportunity to focus on the Non members that are attending to reiterate how important it is to become an IOA member. It is up to you, but you can ask IOA members to stay after the CE part of the meeting is over to go discuss the more formal information pertaining to the IOA that you might have from an EC meeting or obtained elsewhere.
Talking is key! Getting your speakers and sponsors doesn't have to be a challenge. It can be as simple as talking. Talking to everybody! That equipment rep that comes to your office, ask his company for support. At the IOA Convention, there is lots of opportunity to speak with those around - speakers, vendors, and other doctors. If you already have your speaker, ask them if they know of a sponsor. Or if you already have your sponsor, ask them if they know of a speaker.