1. Get people talking
Come prepared with a few questions, preferably open-ended ones. If you are used to diving right in and leading the conversation, start by asking questions, even casual, non-business related ones. People like to talk about themselves, but may feel a little nervous at first if this hasn’t been part of your normal meetings. Be willing to be a little personal yourself. It’ll help you draw your team out.
2. Change your presentation style
If you’ve used powerpoint for every meeting, it may be time to shake things up. Instead of slides, hand out paper notes instead. Start with a video. It could be something funny or inspirational.
3. Bring in a guest
Perhaps you can arrange for a higher-up to come in and address your meeting. Or bring in customer to address your team. You can use a video conferencing solution like iMeet to interview someone from across town or across country. It’s an economical way to expose your team to a variety of your key constituents.
4. Change location
Instead of the usual conference room setting, what if you take the team for a little field trip. See if there is a coffee shop with a community room you could use. Or how about an outdoor patio where you can grab a snack and breathe a little fresh air.
5. Refocus on the big picture
Your team wants to know that what they are doing is valuable. Take a minute to back up, talk about the big picture goals and re-energize the team’s vision. Make sure that everyone understands that the tasks at hand are pointing in a good and important direction.
6. Bring treats and toys
There’s something about a little food that sets a nice tone for a meeting. Spring for some bagels, or pastries, and maybe a little fruit. If you want to get the creative juices flowing, set out some crayons or some little tubs of PlayDoh. It’ll keep hands busy and minds engaged.
7. Reconfigure the meeting
Maybe it’s time to evaluate if a boring, ongoing meeting is even necessary. Sure, you need to get your team together, but do you have a regular meeting on your calendar that may have outlasted its usefulness? Evaluate to make sure that you have the right people in the meeting, that the purpose of the meeting is clear and still valid, and that you are moving toward specific objectives. If not, relieve the stress by canceling the meeting and retooling it. Those who were too polite to tell you the meeting was a drag will thank you.
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