Meetings that engage

During a recent conference call, a text came in. It was from one of the “younger” board members. The gist of it: why are these meeting always a waste of my time? Boring or poorly run meetings send more volunteers running than just about anything else. That’s why Carol Hamilton’s recent blog post on meetings that work, caught my eye.

She shared a different way to think about meetings … a way that engages the whole person in the meeting. It centers around understanding four agendas which she described:

Aligning – Connecting – Learning – Making

Aligning – This agenda engages the spirit and your intentions. Is the ‘why’ clear? Have we aligned around a goal or shift we’re are trying to create?

Connecting – This agenda engages the heart. This is the agenda too often ignored in our action-oriented culture. How do we help each other share so we can build connection and connect to the people impacted by our work? What element of connecting ourselves to each other could we build into the next meeting? Do a check in and check out? Ask each person to answer a simple question to go beyond basic introductions?

Learning – This agenda engages the head. Before we jump into problem-solving, have we clearly defined (and agreed) on the problem we’re trying to solve together? Is there a wider more complex landscape the challenge lies within? How might the group map that system so that they create a shared understanding?

Making – This agenda engages the hands. While traditional meetings often leave this out and end up being a lot of talk – what tangible product could we produce that would move our work forward? How might we design the meeting so that the time spent together is focused on creating a product together rather than just planning? Is there a way to create a prototype together that brings the group’s ideas to life quickly?

Check out the full post and click through her suggestions on Starting with the Why and Try to Make Sure your Meetings Don’t Suck. She offers a simple, cool Meeting Planning Worksheet too.