Tired of the same old meetings? If no agenda, barely engaged attendees who are spending more time multi-tasking than paying attention, no decisions made, and no take-a-ways reviewed other than the date and time of the next meeting sound all too familiar, we might have some good news for you. Meetings can actually be productive, dare we say exciting and meaningful, read on to learn how, using the tried and true LUCK Principle™ paired with dynamic LUCKSTORMING™ sessions.
The LUCK Principle™
Many of you may be reading this thinking of luck in the traditional sense, also known as happenstance, karma, fate. However, the meaning here was born out of years of relationship building and process refinement. LUCK stands for Listen, Understand, Connect and Know. Those terms are paramount not only to meetings but to nearly everything we do in business and in our personal lives. The following is an exploration of its impact on the difference between a productive meeting and a waste of time.
If we are asked to attend a meeting, we assume there's going to be some sort of dialogue or interaction, thus listening. However, listening should begin before the meeting even starts. Given the topic, an organizer must first consider the required attendees. There's nothing worse than meeting for the sake of meeting because required attendees had a conflict, or worse yet the wrong participants had been selected from the get go. An organizer should be mindful of other's schedules, but also be especially careful to ensure the right level of expertise is in the room. Are specific subject matter experts required? Does prioritization or decision making need to occur? Does the session require executive level buy-in or support? If so, invite them all to the same meeting, give them exposure to one another. Don't hold a meeting with the subject matter experts, to turn around and meet with management or executives to regurgitate what was discussed at the first meeting. Imagine the level of listening, communication and yes I'm going to say collaboration that could occur with all of those brilliant minds in one room. And don't let geography hinder the plans, with all of the modern technology available, it is absolutely possible to host a single meeting and garner the same level of participation.
With a captive audience in attendance, now what? Start with setting expectations. Explain what the agenda is, why they've been asked to participate and what the goal of the meeting is. Have you gathered to make a decision, provide a status update, conduct some brainstorming, plan future activities, all of the above or something else entirely? Most important, establish the ground rules in order to avoid competing distractions. Ask attendees to close their laptops or tablets, put their mobile phones away and remain present in the session. Before you begin, ensure they understand the purpose, then ensure there's a good reason for them to get, and stay, engaged.
Engaged. What does that really mean? Once folks are abiding by the established ground rules discussed above in Understand, how does a facilitator combat the running to-do lists and day dreams in participants minds? Simple. Keep them busy, connect with them and provide a means for them to connect with the topics and with one another. Maximize the time by pre-planning the group's activities and ensure enough time has been allocated for each item. This will help the meeting to remain on topic and moving forward. Prioritize the topics to ensure that any show stoppers are covered first, then mid-level priorities, then nice-to-haves. This will ensure that the team doesn't run out of time, missing the opportunity to discuss the business critical items. Do not even entertain the possibility of a rabbit trail. Have a designed spot to capture items that come up and are important enough for conversation, but don't allow that conversation to hi-jack the current meeting. The next statement is important, so pay attention. Make sure the meeting is visual AND interactive, and that doesn't mean a PowerPoint deck. No one likes to sit in a meeting listening to a facilitator drone on and on about something for an hour. Take advantage of the expertise in the room. If done correctly, the exercise for each topic provides equal opportunity for participants to safely share thoughts and opinions, manages the quiet versus the outspoken, the nay-say’ers versus the gung-ho’ers and minimizes group think.
So, the meeting is coming to a close. How much was accomplished? Are there any action items? Are there any documented rabbit-trails to follow up on? What did the group learn? And learn is the key word. The expectation is that the group will have learned more about the topics at hand, more about one another and perhaps more about themselves. Is the group better prepared to execute the next steps because they've participated in the session? What worked well with each exercise and more importantly, what didn't? As a facilitator be willing to explore new methods in order to tailor future session to the topics and participants at hand.
Are you dreaming now of meeting nirvana? Still skeptical as to whether or not it's possible to achieve results with such a diverse group of attendees via remote channels? Wish you had a tried and true method that had attendees excited about attending meetings instead of dreading yet another time sink in their schedule? Contact us for more information about a tailored LUCKSTORMING™ engagement for your organization. No matter the topic, there's a session available to meet the need!
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