Meetings must have purpose, direction, and a process to build enthusiasm and motivation. Without these elements, PFAs and PFACs may not understand their role, their value, or how best to participate. Interest will decrease as frustration increases. Researchers also may not understand how to effectively facilitate discussions with PFAs and get their perspectives. The staff liaison and the chair of the PFAC or committee are in the best positions to provide direction and build enthusiasm and motivation.

Conduct Effective Meetings

  • Establish regular date/time for meetings with researchers that take into consideration the availability of PFAs and PFACs.
  • Assist researchers in preparing by:
    • Determining the reason researchers want to attend a meeting.
    • Discussing options for getting the input they need.
    • Sharing PFAC’s/committee’s mission and background with researchers.
    • Asking researchers to provide materials to be reviewed by PFAs in advance.
    • Explaining the expectation is they will obtain input and ideas and NOT just present completed work or materials to PFAs.
    • Encouraging them to prepare a brief presentation about their project and questions to ask PFAs to spark discussion.
  • Remind all of meeting ground rules including:
    • Firm start and end times for meetings and agenda items.
    • Respect for privacy, confidentiality, and other's opinions.
    • A structure and decision-making process allowing everyone's perspectives to be heard.
  • Provide food and reimbursement to PFAs for transportation, parking, or child or respite care.

Build Enthusiasm and Motivation for Partnerships

  • Understand each PFA’s personal goals for and level of interest in collaborating in research.
  • Solicit ideas for agenda items from all participants (can be done prior to and at the start of meetings).
  • Send materials out before meetings so all can be prepared and can come with questions or ideas.
  • Ensure that all are participating during the meetings.
  • Encourage participants to express questions or concerns before moving on to next agenda item or ending meetings.
  • Close the “loop” related to meetings and discussions by:
    • Determining next steps and a plan for getting them done.
    • Asking all to provide feedback about the discussions and process.
    • Setting the expectation that researchers will inform the PFAC or committee about progress.
    • Designating a contact for PFAs to ask researchers questions or raise issues after or in between meetings as needed.
  • Thank everyone for his or her participation.

More information about meetings can be found in the Facilitating Active Participation section.