Ask most people to describe meetings at work and the adjectives likely to be used are, “boring”, “long” and “worthless”.
This is especially true if you have a team who are itching to get into the kitchen and prepare for the day ahead. The last thing they want to do is sit and listen to you, no matter how important you feel the meeting is.
You need to change the way you run your meetings so your staff don’t see them as a chore and leave thinking the time spent was useful.
So here are five ways you can run a successful meeting and ensure you always leave a positive impression.
Measure the mood
If you want your staff to leave impressed, make sure you exceed their expectations. One way of going above and beyond- without even realising it- is to take a mental note of the mood of each person as they arrive and sit down. Use a basic scale of 1-10; the lower the number, the more unhappy or irritated the person appears. Then use that information to tailor your actions throughout the meeting. This is about knowing your audience. When you go out of your way to lighten the mood and make everyone feel comfortable, attendees begin to relax and focus on the topic at hand.
Try to limit or remove those items that can cause distractions. Whenever possible ask attendees to silence their mobiles. An agenda can also be a distraction. Why? It’s easy for someone to review the agenda and skip ahead in their mind. When someone anticipates a topic of discussion they may be more focused on their own response or input than what you have to say. If it’s important to deliver specific detail or facts, hand out reports etc. when you get to that topic.
The first few minutes of a meeting usually involve some level of chit-chat. It’s likely that your team work closely together so the small talk will be more personal. Small talk helps build camaraderie but not everyone enjoys idle chit chat. If everyone agrees to start on a positive note, go around the room and ask if anyone has some good news to share or something they want to celebrate. Limit the social time though, and then focus on the business at hand.
Open with a question
The type of question will depend on the reason for the meeting. If there is a problem that needs to be discussed, ask attendees how they’d feel if they had to deal with the problem. The question will help you hone in on what matters most to the group. Once everyone’s concerns and personal motivations are addressed, you’ll be able to focus on running an efficient and productive meeting.
Show them why they should care
Passion is contagious. If you tell someone your plans and they’re not as excited as you are, don’t become frustrated because they don’t “get it”. It’s unfair to expect everyone to be as excited as you. Instead demonstrate why the idea is important, relevant and profitable. The most successful meetings focus on the big picture and do much more than rely on facts and figures. Tell the story of your concept. How did you get the idea? Was there a particular catalyst? The more personal the story, the better.
Once you start to run meetings using the five tips above, your staff will be much more open to attending. Who knows, they might even look forward to them!