The Art of the Meeting, pt2
The Art of the Meeting, pt2
Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
Setting the atmosphere for your meetings—the physical atmosphere as well as the atmosphere that is created through communication before, during, and after your meeting—is almost just as important as the content of the meeting.
Atmosphere does have something to do with the ability of people to receive. The cleanliness, the comfortability, the temperature, the chairs, the lighting, the sound—all of those are atmosphere issues that we typically do a good job of paying attention to on a Sunday morning. Yet you can take that same understanding and leave it completely behind when you plan to meet with people in a strategic small group.
When we take the time to set the atmosphere, it tells people that they are important and have been invited to something important and the topic of discussion is important.
THE PHYSICAL SPACE—To set the atmosphere, make it clean, comfortable (lighting, chairs, temperature, etc.), and make it uncluttered. An uncluttered atmosphere communicates progress, crispness, and leadership. A cluttered space or desk makes it hard for people to get behind the forward vision you are trying to communicate.
Different types of meetings need to be accommodated differently. An executive-type, financial meeting would probably work best around a conference table with pens, pads, and any reports printed out ahead of time. Even in that, it can still be comfortable and warm. For a meeting where an issue or a person needs to be addressed, I would have those meetings in my office with me behind my desk in a more official posture, as that communicates the seriousness of the situation.
Most meetings don't fit into either of those categories, as they are more relational and vision-driven. Those meetings worked best in a room where people want to be. I would conduct those meetings in my office, as I had room for a small group of people. I had bright, cheery lighting and comfortable chairs. I would also make sure I had some sort of refreshment. I would find out ahead of time if guys were coming straight from work, and I would arrange to get them dinner.
AGENDA—Never apologize for calling people together. Never be ashamed of your vision and purpose. Instead, always thank them. Then be efficient with their time. Have an agenda that you send out ahead of time so they can come prepared with their thoughts, prayers, and ideas. Value what it is that you are trying to accomplish there.
BE RELATIONAL—How you ask questions to draw people out impacts the atmosphere. Intentionally asking questions that you have prepared ahead of time helps include people in the meetings and creates a relational atmosphere.
AN ACTION PLAN—As you close the meeting, include a clear summary. Have someone send out that summary as soon as possible after the meeting—what was talked about, what you decided to do, what you decided not to do, what action steps specific people are taking. End your meeting with clear action items. That will enable those attending to know where to focus, and they will know that you took the meeting seriously in your preparation and in setting them up for success moving forward.
We want the atmosphere of our meetings to be so comfortable that when we call a meeting, people want to be there.
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!