Decided to organise a meeting? Wondering how to achieve a dialogue instead of yet another dreary monologue? Looking for ways to create a fired up meeting? Managers have to think about this issue every time when organising a meeting, whether it is with their own team or customers. A healthy dialogue is one of the key tools of any meeting.
Meeting is a moment for the team to pass around information, make decisions and to advance projects. However, that’s a meeting at its most basic. At best meetings can also bear fruit to new ideas and innovations, build a great dialogue between team members and empower employees. We will share our insights on how to get more conversations going during meetings.
Fired Up Meeting Requires You to Be on Fire
If you walk into the room feeling tired, yawning and ready to collapse on the meeting chair, chances are that all the other participants will also slowly feel demotivated. We unconsciously adapt our behaviour to that of the others, and if you want to be a high achiever with a solution-oriented mind and energy, you need to fake it even if that’s the last thing you’re feeling.
Take a few minutes before the meeting to review the agenda and the objective one more time in your mind. Do a few powerful, upward reaching stretches and moves, and walk into the room with energy and a good posture. Greet everyone in a brisk manner and maybe start the meeting with a short icebreaker. You’re already off to a better start!
Know the Objective of the Meeting and Be Clear About it
Let’s begin with one of the most important steps of any meeting: set a goal or an objective for the meeting. A proper topic or goal helps you to build everything inside and outside the meeting. It also helps the participants to structure their thoughts and talks surrounding the topic. Less time is wasted and more results are going to get done. Every fired up meeting starts with a clear alignment.
Prepare the Meeting Agenda in Advance
As the organiser, you will need to set up an agenda. We recommend drafting a rough agenda where the topic and goal are clarified. This has to be sent to the participants a few days before the meeting. Consequently everyone is able to get an understanding of what is coming up and likewise able to prepare their thoughts. A couple of days before will be enough.
Do not set the agenda too tight. As the organiser, you will never know which topic demands more discussion and which one less. You don’t want to drag the meeting too long nor cut a good conversation short. So remember to leave flexibility and time!
Leave Space for Ad-hoc Topics
An extra tip for ‘brave organisers’ is to also add an ad-hoc topic. In other words, at the beginning of the meeting ask everyone to bring forward one or two issues they feel important to discuss and then use those as part of the meeting. Nevertheless, these issues have to surround the original objective or topic. Naturally important opinions rise up and spark the dialogue and conversations – we guarantee you!
Fired Up Meeting Has an Established Meeting Etiquette
If you allow mobile phones on the table, chances are, everyone will be unconsciously checking their phone, replying to messages or walking out of the room to catch a sudden emergent phone call. If you allow laptops to be open on the table, chances are, participants will follow you with one eye while the other is focused on the laptop screen, perhaps typing an email. Make it a clear rule that no phones or laptops are visible unless tasked with presenting.
Fired Up Meeting Involves Everyone
Often a few people tend to dominate the meeting, ready to voice their opinions without the slightest doubt. While all points and points of view are always meaningful, it is important to encourage your quieter colleagues to speak up as well. If you have people in the room that are quiet, or whom you know have expertise in a certain field, directly ask how they feel about the discussion. Try and limit the dominating characters when needed.
If you don’t quite agree with somebody’s point or you’re not sure whether you understood correctly, we have a constructive tip on how to manage the dialogue. Instead of saying “you’re wrong” or “I don’t understand”, try the following. “Let me play this back to you. Am I correct when I say you suggest we do XYZ?” This is a constructive way to summarize and playback ideas, and it helps to think clearly, to stay on track and to align to the topic.
Learn to Be an Agile Facilitator of the Meeting
To have an empowering, energetic and successful meeting, you need to learn to be an agile facilitator. Facilitating meetings might be familiar to you, but in any case, it’s always helpful to educate yourself. Our tip; know the basics of facilitating. Most managers are not very good at facilitating since the first rule is to be objective and a good listener (and managers always have so many opinions that they want to say out loud!).
We recommend taking a course or reading a book. A basic course will teach you how to use questions, stay objective, build group working skills and engage participants in the right way, in order to promote better conversation during meetings.
So here’s our memory list for you: Be energetic, set a goal, build a rough agenda and send it forward – add topics from participants if you dare and facilitate conversation. Easy, right?
If You need help on creating the right kind of atmosphere contact us in HUONE. We host meetings every day with a smile ☺.