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How to Hold Effective Staff Meetings

Bad staff meetings keep people from making money for your company. Here is how to hold an effective staff meeting.

effective meetings, bad meetings, business meeting, facilitation, steve kaye, facilitator, leadership, one great meeting

Many people believe that they conduct effective meetings, when all they really do is host a party filled with official sounding chit chat. Or worse, they deliver a monologue that bores everyone. In either case, their meetings produce little.

Here's how to hold a short, effective staff meeting.

1) In general. Keep them short. Most staff meetings should last less than an hour. You want your staff to spend their time working on things that earn money for your business, not sitting in meetings. Keep them positive. Negative meetings contain insults, ridicule, and attacks. These activities create caution and resentment, which always costs your company money. Keep them interactive. Your staff consists of intelligent people. Put them to work in your meetings to advance the effectiveness of your organization.

2) Share news. Give the members of your group one minute to report on progress made in their area of responsibility. You'll find that this results in bullet point reports of essential information. It also prevents people from philosophizing, explaining, justifying, criticizing, and engaging in other unproductive activities. Plan a time budget: 8 to 10 minutes.

3) Teach something. Invite a guest expert to give a 10 minute presentation on some skill or technology that benefits your group. Tell the expert that you want a logical explanation of practical ideas. You can also ask members of your group to take turns delivering brief tutorials on topics that benefit the others. Plan a time budget: 10 to 15 minutes.

4) Practice skills. Create team learning activities that sharpen or teach skills needed in your business. For example, you could role play job skills (especially useful for sales teams), solve puzzles (useful for high tech groups), or take quizzes (useful for everyone). Ask group members to take turns bringing an activity that reviews or teaches a valuable skill. Follow this activity with a brief recap of key ideas. Then ask the group members to give a fifteen second report on how these ideas can be applied to improve their work. Plan a time budget: 10 to 20 minutes.

5) Solve problems. Give each group member a minute to describe a challenge that hinders work on a current project and then let everyone propose solutions. Suggestions should be brief and free of self aggrandizing explanations or motivational sermons. This process also requires a positive, supportive environment to succeed. If this is used to ridicule, insult, or criticize the individual, then people will be reluctant to reveal issues that need attention. Plan a time budget: 3 to 6 minutes per person.

6) Use a facilitator. A facilitator will help you conduct meetings where the results matter. That way, you can participate, rather than spend your time managing the meeting. A good facilitator will know group decision making processes that move your meeting toward results everyone supports.


How to Identify Future Leaders

Surveys show that executives use a person's conduct in a meeting as a basis for promotion into a leadership position. Here's why.

effective meetings, bad meetings, business meeting, facilitation, steve kaye, facilitator, leadership, one great meeting

Every meeting provides an opportunity to learn important things about the people who attend. Here's what to watch for:

> Is it planned?

Effective leaders always begin with clearly defined goals and then prepare plans for achieving them. They have the courage to set a direction and then make changes as new information becomes available. They communicate with candor knowing that people perform at their best when they know what is expected. Thus, did the person who called this meeting prepare an agenda? Was the agenda distributed before the meeting? Did the agenda tell you everything that you needed to know to work effectively in the meeting? If so, this serves as a positive indication of effective leadership planning.

> Is it efficient?

A meeting is the culminating step in a larger process. It begins by setting goals and preparing an agenda. Then the chairperson should have contacted key participants to inform them of their roles in the meeting, told everyone how to prepare for the meeting, and alerted people who may be asked to accept responsibility for action items. All of this work before the meeting assures that the meeting will progress smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. So, how is the meeting going? Is there evidence of this attention to detail?

> Is it logical?

Pay attention to what people say during a meeting. Do their ideas contribute toward achieving the goals? if so, this shows that they're working as part of a team to help find solutions. Do their ideas build upon what others just said? If so, this shows that they're paying attention to the dialogue. Do their ideas demonstrate originality, creativity, and knowledge? If so, this shows they’re working hard to add value. Effective leaders possess strong analytical thinking skills.

> Is it helpful?

Evaluate the comments and behavior during a meeting. Are the participants working to support each other? Are people contributing to the safe environment that is essential for open creative thinking? Are people adding high-value contributions (instead of stories or jokes that distract everyone)? Note that chronic unproductive behavior betrays either fear, a lack of effective work skills, or misunderstood expectations. People who perform poorly in meetings may need constructive coaching.

> Is it controlled?

Leadership involves more than watching people talk. Thus, observe the dynamics of the meeting process. Is the chairperson leading everybody through methodical steps that take them to a result? Is the meeting being conducted in such a way that the participants feel that it is a fair process? Is the chairperson helping others perform at their best so that the group can produce an outstanding result?

Someone who excels in the above areas should be considered for leadership positions. This explains why most executives consider a person’s ability to lead meetings when selecting future leaders.


How to Perfect a Practice to make Practice Perfect

What if tomorrow you had a very important meeting with people you’ve never met before? Maybe it’s an interview for a job you really want; maybe you’re selling a product you’ve created; it could be any event you’re unprepared for.

Practice,tweak what needs tweaking,tweaking,tweak,rehearse,imagine,practice makes perfect practise

A few practical tips worth revisiting are:

** Be prepared and know exactly what it is you want from this meeting;

** Thoroughly research the company you’re going to be dealing with;

** Choose an outfit appropriate for the meeting – if unsure ask your friends (asking your mother may cause greater anxiety than you first started with);

** Know exactly where and when the meeting will be and who will be there;

** Meditate before you leave for your meeting – it’s important to be in a centred and calm frame of mind; and

** Arrive with plenty of time to spare.

Something which has helped me be prepared for just about anything is practising an imaginery meeting and watching myself interacting with others starting from the moment when I arrive at the Reception counter. I run through this imaginery meeting until the end when I say my farewell. By doing this, not only do I become familiar with the meeting, it also gives me greater confidence and self awareness as well as produce a successful result.

If you’ve never considered rehearsing before the following exercise may be worthy of consideration.

You can start this step by step process by first:

** Writing down at least 10 possible questions that may be asked of you. Answer each question in detail, adding any variations that come to mind.

Putting aside for now the end result , practice using your five senses (hear, taste, see, smell, feel) and your mind’s eye to imagine in full detail how this meeting will unfold, starting from the very beginning to the end. Imagine and experience this meeting fully in the present tense, in other words, be there now.

Experience and imagine:

** How relaxed and confident you are;

** What you’re wearing;

** Your arrival at the nominated venue, and how you are greeted at the Reception counter;

** What you will be taking with you into the meeting (clipboard, briefcase etc);

** The venue setting;

** Greeting the other person, the tone of your voice and theirs (imagine how strong and confident it is);

** Sitting in your seat;

** Where the other person is sitting, their posture and facial expression;

** How you sit and they sit; how you hold your body, where you place your bag, briefcase or other item;

** Notice your facial features and theirs;

** Notice also the rapport between you, notice any smiling and hear the sound of laughter;

** See and hear yourself responding to their questions in full detail;

** The smell of the room, perfume, street smells, and the taste in your mouth; and

** Anything else you notice or would like to add.

** At the close of the meeting observe your farewell, what you say, how you say it, your facial features and body movements.

Rerun the meeting differently several times and include different verbal exchanges, further tweak what needs tweaking. It’s not about perfecting one scene over and over, it’s about providing a combination of possibilities that will help you be even more prepared.

For example, visualise the other person looking perplexed by what you’re saying, communicate differently and notice what happens. See and hear this exchange in full detail. Rerun as often as you need to until you get the result you want.

For added measure, you could also rehearse your meeting by placing two chairs at a table for yourself and the other person. Sit down in one of the chairs and imagine you’re speaking to the person sitting opposite. Become aware of how you sit, your breathing rate, clarity of voice and rapport.

When you’ve finished speaking, move into second position (the other seat) and communicate what you believe that person will say, how they’ll respond, what you anticipate their body movements to be and volume, speed and tone of voice.

As a final practice technique dress for success and speak to your reflection in a mirror. Practice various verbal exchanges with the other person. Watch and notice your facial expressions, body movements including breathing rate as well as using different postures, expressions and questions and answers. Have fun and tweak what needs tweaking…

With some practical self coaching and mental rehearsal life can become that much more easier, comfortable and provide greater confidence, awareness and more successful results.

<a href="">Michaela Scherr Transformational Coach and Intuitive</a>


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