Lead a meeting like you've always wanted

Team meetings are like a rudder on a boat, they may appear small but they can steer massive change in your team or organization.

Photo credit to Campaign Monitor

You know when you've been in a unproductive meeting. It's painful. However, I hope you've been in a meeting that you walked away encouraged and aware of what your next steps were. The later meeting builds momentum, the other sucks the very life out of you and your team.

Here is how you have great meetings:

1. Make it personal - We can never assume that every person at the meeting knows everything about everyone. Bill Hybels writes about the Hot Seat in his book Courageous Leadership. The "hot seat" is when you choose one person a meeting and ask them questions about themselves. Questions like, "If you could have a dream home anywhere in the world, where would you?" Remember, people are at the table, not robots. They have dreams, goals, and gifts; do you know what they are?

2. Get reporting out of the way - Many times reporting is unecessary in meetings. If there is a common means of communication like email or a Facebook message put the reporting there, hit the majors in the meeting as briefly as possible, and then ask if anyone saw something they had questions about.

3. Strike'em emotionally - If you fail at this you will probably fail in the meeting. People want to be engaged and excited but you have to draw it out. Ask them to dream. Ask them if something has happened that demonstrates the power of why you do what you do. Ask them how their lives are changing by being involved. These kinds of questions are like turning the key on your car's ignition, now you can go somewhere.

4. Turn it over - People are longing for the opportunity to speak into something. Input begets ownership. If the group is five or less you can help them brainstorm solutions. If the group is larger than five, break the group up. Have the smaller groups brainstorm and then present to the other group about their solutions. As the leader look for those who aren't participating or might be shy and ask for their input!

5. Illicit action - Brainstorming is great but worthless without follow up action. You can lead a great meeting but nothing will deflate the emotional high of the group if they don't know where to go to put their solutions to work. Have each group do a "now what?". Your team has great ideas, having them write them down allows you as the leader to follow up with direct action instead of vague reminders!

Every leader should know how to lead great meetings so they can harvest the combined energy of their people. Lose at meetings, lose momentum, lose people; it's that simple.

What helps you lead effective meetings? Please leave a comment below about what you have learned or experienced in meetings.

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