Two Overlooked Meeting Maximizers

Meetings matter. The costs (time and money) are sizable.  The potential significant.

For leaders, there is only one thing worse than being part of a bad meeting – leading one.

Since meetings are a primary platform for moving ministries and organizations forward, leaders need to be highly skilled at the art of leading them.

With a new fall season of meetings quickly approaching, I wanted to share two meeting maximizers that are often overlooked:

1. Connect to the Heartbeat

Working through complex issues and difficult problems can easily dominate a meeting.  This can overwhelm and fatigue participants.  Which is why everyone needs to regular connect with the heartbeat of your department and/or organization.  This is particularly true for volunteers who work by day and volunteer by night.

So seek to regularly breathe life into your meetings and participants.  Think through how you can creatively and regularly share and celebrate the bigger vision – the overriding purpose – the heartbeat – of why you are doing what you are doing. For instance:

  • Invite Special Guests – Invite a client/ministry recipient to briefly visit/skype into your meeting to the difference your team/organization has made in their life
  • Share The Story – Share pictures, stories or even a short video about the positive impact of a recent event/ministry
  • Read Comment Cards – Gather written feedback from clients/ministry recipients, print it out ahead of your meeting and have meeting participants take turns reading the comment cards
  • Ask – Ask meeting participants to share one response to “What’s going well right now? or a story about life change as they observe the ministry/organization.

2. Grow Relationships and Community

Few people, especially volunteers, want to complete an agenda or leave a meeting without feeling more connected to the community.  Share this value and consider a few ideas to grow community:

  • Faith Story – Pre-arrange for a meeting participant to briefly share their faith story or 3-4 major life turning points at the beginning of a meeting. Then pray for the participant who has shared.
  • Single Word Focus – Ask meeting participants to think of a single word (or phrase) focus that best summarizes their life since the last meeting. Give them a moment to reflect and go around the meeting table.  You may be surprised by what you learn. This exercise will likely surface deeper issues that can impact the meeting or be opportunities to care for one another.
  • Question of the Day – Ask an interesting question before business begins (i.e. what are your holiday plans, what are you reading these days, what did you do for fun this week?).  Take a few minutes to go around the table for responses to help ‘break the ice’ and connect as people before you launch into meeting mode.
  • Encouragement – Start or end a meeting with an encouragement focus. Choose one participant and ask the group to share some words of encouragement about the person – i.e. what do you appreciate about this person’s involvement? Then, pray for the person. Rotate through each participant in future meetings (you could select by birthday month).
  • Activity Time – Do a road-trip, service project, fun activity (a games night, bowling, bbq, etc.) or simply walk around your facility together and pray in partners. The time on the road or alongside one another provides invaluable opportunities for relationship building and memory making.

These ideas may take some preparation and time, but when your meeting participants leave the room, they will leave with greater enthusiasm, deeper commitment and more connectedness.

What are some proven ideas you’ve used for maximizing meetings?  Please share your ideas by joining the conversation below…