Your time connecting with your staff on a regular basis should be one of the most important meetings you have, so put some energy into it to make it ENGAGING, ENLIGHTENING and EMPOWERING.
This morning I was asked for some ideas on ways to make staff meetings more creative.
Here are some ideas, and these come from years of learning what works and from learning what doesn’t work!
The meeting needs to become a regular part of your organizations culture. With that in mind, find a time to meet that works best for a majority of your staff, and then make it a priority. Create an expectation that people are going to attend, and they’re going to participate.
Do the work of setting some time aside to prepare for this regular meeting. Set up the room, create an agenda, celebrate some people and activities, and come prepared.
Staff meeting should never become something that you do because you always do it. It should be the most important meeting of the week, and people should want to come because this is where they get a pulse on what’s going on in the organization and in their teams life.
Don’t use staff meeting to communicate things that you can communicate in an email or a memo. Use whatever means possible to communicate information.
Use staff meeting to get people input, to ask questions and clarification, to share new vision and opportunities, and to connect personally with team members.
Your team should walk away from your staff meeting with tangible information and deeper relationships. If this isn’t happening, then you’re missing something!
Model for your staff how meetings should be run. You do this be being prepared, by making it a priority and by being fully engaged with the team. Here are 10 simple things that will help:
- Have an agenda and a purpose. If you don’t, then the meeting is a waste of time.
- Start on time. As the leader, NEVER be late, and NEVER be unprepared.
- Celebrate together. Make the meeting fun and engaging. Get creative! Think outside the box. Surprise them with ice cream, have a special guest show up, honor someone for something they did. Keep your team anticipating what is coming next!
- Eliminate distractions during the meeting by collecting cell phones, turning off the phone, putting a notice on the front door. This let’s people know that the most important thing going on is happening in the meeting!
- Expect people to be present. If they don’t show up, call them and find out why they didn’t attend. Make this an “expectation” of your staff.
- Talk about themes and topics that affect the entire staff. If you do conversations that don’t affect everyone, you’ll lose people. Do those in specific meetings. Keep the topics general for everyone.
- Let people talk, share, participate. As the leader, don’t do all the talking.
- End the meeting on time. Let them know what the time expectancy is and honor that.
- Be flexible to change your plans when you need to. Example: Someone shows up that has just had a personal tragedy. Stop what you’re doing and care for the team member, together. Don’t be so bound by your agenda that you miss the important things.
- Be the leader. Use this time to cast vision, to remind people of why we’re all here, and to thank people for their work and their commitment. Staff meeting is your platform to connect and lead the team. Take it seriously and don’t underestimate the value!
Don’t try to do all of these things in every meeting, but take some steps towards adding value and purpose to the times you gather together with your staff.