We all are on the drill, get to your desk, switch on your technology and await instructions on your workday as the emails roll in. Wait for it… wait for it…. and there is the knock on the door and you are summoned to your first meeting for the day.
As you enter the board room, you do a double check to see if you tagged along everything you need to make your spot relevant. Laptop: check, Phone: check, a positive attitude…. hmmmmm and there it sometimes fall short on the tick list.
Why are we so allergic to meetings? Yes, some meetings require all the above mentioned, but then there are meetings where you need to break the mould of the corporate tradition and start asking: Why do we have to have meetings in a boardroom? Some of my best meetings are being conducted in the hallway on our floor, the kitchen while brewing a cup of coffee for the team or taking a walk outside the office.
Energy are being ignited when we change the setting, rhythm and format of meetings. One of my interns in the past suffered from Narcolepsy (uncontrollably falling asleep) and that was an amazing trigger to me on how I should conduct meetings. Here is my list of triggers you should watch out for and make meetings worth while:
- Check your teams non-verbals
You see, my narcoleptic intern helped me to monitor the speed, relevance and format of the meeting. That moment when her eyes started to droop I know the meeting need to either speed up, or take a break. This wasn’t just because of her, but we loose and draw energy from people in poor conducted meetings.
2. The end result
Clearly stipulate with your members what the end result of your meeting will be. What goal would you like to reach? Stick to the theme of the meeting and when the meeting get side tracked, refocus the team. It will only be natural that the discussion will grow into smaller points of discussion, but keep the conversations relevant and in some cases it’s fine to start sub-committees to meet in their own time to sort out the nitty gritty and rather report back to the main meeting.
Keep to the time! There is NOTHING as irritating as being late or keeping the meeting going beyond the said times. Everyone is on a schedule and that should be respected. Should important points arise, either note them down in your minutes, or have a sub-discussion to give feedback. If that’s not an option, agree with your meeting that you will go over ‘x’ amount of minutes and stick to that.
Keep minutes and always reflect with your ‘minute-taker’ that the right content is minuted and formulated correctly. Many meetings had minutes, but it was so vague and meaningless that it served no purpose at all. Constantly reflect the decisions and make sure the ‘minute-taker’ jot that down.
Choose your space for meetings. One on one are usually done off site central to both parties or closer to your clients, but for internal meetings, why not chuck the formal setting all together and rather opt for an informal space away from disruption.
In some cases meetings might develop in tension between members and it’s of vital importance to acknowledge everyone on their views and to remember that it’s not a popularity contest, this is about getting work done. In some point in time, conflict will arise and it’s critical that the focus should always be on the issue at hand and not the person.
Have fun in meetings. If someone made an exceptional contribution, why not commend them for it a give them a candle and call them the ‘bright spark’ of the committee. When we laugh and have fun, our brains heighten the production of Serotonin and Dopamine which ends in a ‘feel good’ experience. It lies with you as the chairperson to make sure everyone leaves feeling productive, accomplished and good as far as you can.
Remember to have good coffee (ok, it’s not the pre-requisite for a good meeting, this is just my addiction speaking). Bottomline, meetings cannot be conducted in the same format, space and rhythm for each of your audiences. They need to be different, they need to be creative when it’s a creative crowd, they need to be straight to the point when you have focussed people that are always in a rush. Keep your finger on the pulse of your group and make the effort to acknowledge each member and their contribution to the table.
Have a good meeting today!