Q: I’m in an independent Forum and wondered if someone misses a regular meeting, what is the best practice in terms of requiring an explanation?


A: In a healthy, connected Forum, people typically WANT to share their reason for missing a meeting. These people are their closest confidants. They want to share whatever is happening in their life that is so important that they must miss a meeting. The primary exception to this would be if the cause is highly confidential and the person, let’s call him Joe, doesn’t want to send it through email. In that case, Joe should say that he doesn’t want to send it through email, but he’ll provide the details at the next meeting.

On a related note, I know of several Forums that have a protocol in place when a member misses a meeting. The person who misses is to reach out to each Forum member individually at some point after the meeting (and before the next meeting) to share monthly Updates one-on-one. This helps the missing person not feel quite so disconnected from the group and vice versa. For whoever gave a Presentation, additional time should be spent on the call to ask about the Presentation and offer any additional experience-sharing to the presenter.

Since your Forum has a special way of handling Updates and Presentations, I’m not quite sure how this would apply, but hopefully you can appreciate the spirit behind it and decide if there’s an application for it in your Forum. While perfect attendance is nice, it may not always be practical, especially in case of an emergency. By connecting one-on-one with each member after the missed meeting, the missing member will feel more connected and help the entire group feel more informed and “whole”. It also takes time which demonstrates a high level of commitment to the group despite missing the meeting.

Overall, this sounds like a healthy discussion for your Forum to have together. Remember that all Forums are unique. Talk about what makes sense for your Forum and ensure that everyone has clarity on how the situation will be handled in the future.

I hope that helps! 😊