Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to WOW! Your Next Meeting

Are your staff meetings full of unintended exercise? Do your team members get their exercise by…

  • Jumping to conclusions

  • Flying off the handle

  • Carrying things too far

  • Dodging responsibilities

  • Pushing their luck

Instead of unintended exercise in your team meeting, instead try to create a WOW environment for every meeting.

Make sure your meeting room is ready at least 15 minutes before the start time with any anticipated materials you might need. As the team leader, make it a habit to do a personal, enthusiastic, genuine, warm, highly-relational, look-you-in-the-eye greeting to every single person sitting around the table before you even think about starting. Encourage all team members to get acquainted and converse with one another. You may have 7 items to discuss and critical decisions have to be made, but the most important part of any meeting is the people who make up your team.

An agenda, consisting of meeting purpose and time frame, discussion items, and anticipated actions should be distributed ahead of time; the more critical the decision, the longer team members should have the information for their review. The agenda should include a time estimate for each topic. If you have additional information to distribute, make sure there are enough copies prepared in advance for everyone. As your team moves through the agenda, make sure any assignments or action steps are noted for all to see; include a time frame for completion of the assignment and a leader who is responsible to report back to the team. The final ten minutes of every meeting are very important: take five minutes for a quick wrap-up discussion of what decisions were made, which decisions were delayed, and how to best communicate this information throughout your organization. Then, end the meeting five minutes early!

As the leader, your warmth and wisdom will determine the course of the meeting; as an active leader, your success in engaging every participant in the meeting will in large part determine the success of the meeting. The wise leader can gauge the “temperature” of the room and be prepared to inject energy and enthusiasm at the right moment so that even routine meetings don’t become dull and uninspiring. Finally, when the meeting is over, go to the door and give a warm and sincere thank-you to every member as they leave. That communicates direct assurance that you were grateful for their contribution to a successful meeting.

Passionate people with a sense of calling to their mission, gathering to make decisions about direction for future ministry efforts, eagerly participating – that’s a WOW meeting!

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