The Art of the Meeting

meet·ing [ˈmēdiNG] noun—an assembly of people, especially the members of a society or committee, for discussion or entertainment

I absolutely love this Google definition of the word meeting. Can you guess which two trigger words I admire? That’s right, “Discussion” and “Entertainment.” These are the two secret ingredients to thriving in your next meeting. Now, I personally don’t think that it needs to be one or the other but both!

As ministry leaders, we host meetings for various reasons but the most successful meetings I’ve been in cultivate the opportunity for discussion—a time to listen and a time to share but also an element of entertainment. A light hearted illustration, a fun take away gift, a silly song . . .

Below are a list of ideas and exercises that you as a leader can do in order to feel that you are hosting a successful meeting.

  1. Describe your group dynamic and objective. Determine what you are trying to accomplish through the meeting. Assess the personality of your group and what would be the best way to approach the topic. Will a predetermined schedule be best? Or, is open brainstorming a better way for your team to meet the objective?
  2. How can you create the appropriate environment? Think through where you will meet and what type of ambiance you desire to create. How do you want people to feel when you are gathering? Casual? Formal? I always lean into relational.
  3. Content—Once you know your objective then you can think through what, when, why, and how.
  4. Agenda—A clear start and stop time is important. Let your team feel heard and valued, equipped, refocused or refreshed after time together. Also make sure to write into your agenda a time to open and or close with prayer.
  5. “HELP my meeting got highjacked and turned into a complaint fest!” (Been there.) You might want to back up and reassess how often you are gathering feedback. Do you make it clear that you are available to speak with your leaders at anytime about their ideas, thoughts, or concerns on effectiveness? Try hanging up an idea board in your leaders lounge. This makes it easy for people to dream and post their ideas and thoughts on a consistent basis. I may be guilty of posting ideas on there to get the ball rolling (wink, wink) Every week, make sure to follow up with highs and lows from the weekend! This way it becomes your culture to communicate. Good questions to ask: how did your group go; or, what could we have done better? How can we equip you and your group for success? By always opening the door for feedback it really helps to clear up the bottleneck effect. Complaints can be an indication that there may be a deeper issue. It may be a clarity and communication issue or perhaps its a leader who doesn’t buy into the vision. But I would be intentional to listen.
  6. Extra Credit—Ask your leaders to write out their feedback in advance to make sure each person has time to process and articulate what they want without feeling pressured to squeeze it into an hour or less time frame. This also gives you time to process your response and you can make sure how you reply is to ACT and not react.

I hope these tips help to bring a level of excitement to your next meeting. You can go from surviving to thriving. Lead On!

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