How many times have you attended a meeting and immediately sensed that it would be boring and meaningless? Ineffective meetings can be turned around by simply improving the first and last 5 minutes.
Stand-up comedy comics operate with the philosophy: start strong, finish strong. By applying the same philosophy to conducting meetings, you can achieve better interaction and engagement with your employees. Try the following 6 tips for your next meeting:
1. Create an Energetic Example from the Start: If you want better engagement from your team, you need to display an enthusiastic attitude from the moment team members enter the meeting room. As empathetic beings, your team members will reflect the level of energy and mood you convey in just a few seconds. If you appear gloomy or low-energy, the meeting will automatically take on a somber atmosphere. If you exhibit a positive and enthusiastic attitude, the meeting will run better and be more productive. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. You can also be influenced by the emotions of your team. Therefore, don’t let negative energy and bad emotions affect your positive attitude. Stay focused on setting a good example for the team. Lead the meeting with firm and friendly body language and tone of voice.
2. Interact with Everyone in the Room: Some people are accustomed to starting a meeting by reading the agenda, and others bow their heads to read the agenda without making eye contact, thus avoiding interaction. However, the purpose of face-to-face meetings is to meet face-to-face. Strive to build and maintain interaction from the start to create a collaborative meeting environment. Don’t make agenda reading the opening of the meeting. It’s better to convey a few sentences about why you are gathering and what you want to achieve.
3. Remind Everyone of the Larger Mission: Don’t get stuck counting every minute that has passed so you forget the main goal of the meeting. Remind everyone that they are working towards a higher goal. How does this meeting align with the overall vision, help the company, or benefit the team? You will get better engagement if everyone can understand the meeting’s purpose.
4. Provide Action Steps: Before heading to the next meeting, make sure everyone knows the steps they need to take. Instead of delegating tasks by reading out what tasks will be done by whom, ask each person in the room about the responsibilities they are taking based on the meeting’s outcomes. Pay attention to what they say and how they say it; is their body language congruent with what they are saying? This is your chance to identify any discrepancies early on.
5. Acknowledge Success: Recognition and appreciation are essential for building a positive culture. It’s easy for us to get caught up in deadlines, but we rarely appreciate success in overcoming challenges, even with just a congratulatory remark. Recognition and praise for the team should be part of the agenda for every meeting. You can always find someone doing something good. Simple expressions like “Great idea, Charlie!” or “Thanks for your hard work, John!” may seem straightforward but can have a positive impact on the flow of the meeting and the team’s performance.
6. End the Meeting Strongly: Just as when you start a meeting by connecting with the team, you should end it in the same way. Think about what you will say at the end of the meeting. Ideally, your closing words will reflect the welcome at the beginning of the meeting. Use the closing words to reinforce the goals and conclusions of the meeting.
Conducting meetings is no longer something to be taken lightly. It is an opportunity for a team to coordinate and communicate all goals effectively.
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