How to make meetings work for you

2 June 2011

Alison Smith, senior purchasing consultant at Future Purchasing and life-coachFollowing on from my previous blog about the power of contagious thought, I wanted to share why I do what I do at the start of many meetings I facilitate.

But before I tell you more, I’d like you to consider what steps you take at the beginning of a meeting to ensure everyone is in the right mood to achieve the intended outcome. If your answer is “nothing” then I suggest the following guidance may positively change the outcome of your meetings in future.

If you think about it, people arrive at meetings in all sorts of different moods: Flustered, worried, awkward, hyperactive, tired, angry, sad, happy, enthusiastic, motivated or demotivated for example.

Some of these will support the outcome and others will certainly hinder the achievement of it.

Acknowledging that this wide variety of moods and states exist is the first step. The second is doing something to ensure everyone in the room can access the most appropriate state for the situation. In some meetings, for example, anger and frustration might be useful, and in others less so.

I use one of two strategies:

  • Ask the attendees what states would be useful to achieve the outcome, and use this list as a reminder throughout the meeting when other less helpful states appear.
  • Also ask attendees to each pick one from a selection of beneficial states for them to be responsible for bringing into the meeting, or even ask them to share a time in the past when they’ve expressed that state.

Either way you’re more likely to have left the unhelpful states at the door and have access to states that ensure your outcomes are achieved.

Let me know how you get on.

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