7 Ways to Lead Meetings that Motivate
LEADERSHIP REALLY MATTERS
REV. JAY HANSON
WOW! The other day at The Chapel Ministries we had the best board meeting! We had fun together, we remembered why we’re in ministry, we solved a few problems, listened to people’s experiences, and learned more about what it means to join God in ministry to our community through this church. We left refreshed and renewed with a clear direction and purpose. Are you wondering how you can have uplifting meetings that motivate people to action? Here are seven keys to leading meetings that motivate.
- Be Prepared. A 45-minute meeting doesn’t take just 45 minutes. In order to lead a meeting that motivates others, you must invest time in preparation beforehand so people can come ready to dig in and get down to work. Send out the agenda and goals ahead of time so participants can begin thinking and brainstorming. Put time into planning fun activities and meaningful opportunities for people to connect.
- Set the Stage. Put care and thought into your meeting environment. Are the chairs comfortable? Do you need a table? Is the lighting adequate? Do you need a whiteboard for brainstorming? Can everyone see each other? Will you meet after lunch? If so, can you take a break and move around mid-way through the meeting? Do you need coffee or snacks? Do you need a formal meeting room or would you be more productive in an off-site location? Can you schedule breaks so you can refresh yourself and re-engage your brain periodically? Create an environment where people can be most productive.
- Start with the Heart. Before moving into the business of the meeting, take 10 to 15 minutes to build relationships and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. You can do this through a fun team-building game, scripture reading, prayer, icebreaker question, etc. Help people feel valued for who they are, not just what they bring to the table.
- Set Boundaries. After this time of community building, make sure everyone knows what the objective is. If there is a lot of business to cover, give everyone a printed agenda to keep the meeting moving. If the point of the meeting is to solve a problem, state the problem to be solved. For example, “Within the next hour we will be coming up with three solutions for expanding our influence within the community.” If you are brainstorming, come with a printed list of questions to start the ball rolling and help keep you focused.
- Stop Rabbit Trails. Don’t allow off-topic subjects to detour your progress toward the goal! Periodically throughout the meeting, if someone starts to get off task, restate the objective. If another topic comes up that needs to be addressed, simply say, “Let’s add that to the next meeting’s agenda.” If the off-topic issue only involves a few of the people present in the meeting, call an “Expert Forum” where the people involved in making the decision meet individually to address the issue on their own.
- Solve Problems. Have you ever been to an unnecessary meeting that could have handled with email instead? If you’re just updating a group on what is already scheduled to take place and don’t need a decision or the group’s input, don’t bring everyone together for another meeting – just send an email. When you do get everyone together, make sure people feel like their time was well-spent solving problems and helping come up with solutions. When people are able to grapple with issues and express themselves in a way that leads toward resolution, even the most difficult meeting has meaning and helps them feel valued.
- Be Timely. Start on time and end on time. Even if you’re not finished and haven’t come to a resolution, table the issue and come back to it another day. You gain trust and integrity if you consistently stay true to your time. When people know they can trust you to be on time, they will be more apt to faithfully attend meetings as well.