I’ve never seen anything like it. I went to a meeting this week and I was spellbound. The woman who ran the meeting was truly a master. If you could channel this woman’s skill at running a meeting, you could ensure your business success, get what you want or maybe cure world hunger. Well, maybe not. Even so, what she did was incredible. I thought about what made this meeting such a success. Here’s what she did.
The meeting started on time. Don’t you hate when meetings are delayed because the leader waits for some people to arrive? She didn’t wait. Everyone who was there on time was respected. The meeting started on time.
Of course this meeting leader had an agenda. She knew what the meeting would include. Most people who lead meetings do have an idea of the agenda. But do they get the most from the participants at the meeting to complete the agenda? Not always. This meeting was tougher since all the attendees didn’t know the other meeting participants. That hurdle was immediately overcome. The leader started the meeting by thanking each person for attending. It was a small meeting of about 10 people so the thanks didn’t take too long. But what she skillfully did was establish the credibility of each person who was there.
She introduced the individual, with business title and company affiliation. Then she gave a specific compliment to each person. How would you feel if you were complimented for a specific quality or skill that you possess? My compliment made me feel special and more likely to focus on the agenda items and participate in the meeting. How many meetings have you attended where people are checking Blackberries and are otherwise disengaged? I’ll bet it’s most meetings that you attend. But the sincere compliment was powerful and it got everyone focused on the meeting agenda.
Next, she explained that each person was specifically asked to join the team. It was an exclusive group where not everyone who could participate was asked to participate. Being thought of as a member of an exclusive group had to make each person feel special. It did for me. When you bring a group together, do you let participants know that they were specifically chosen to be part of the group? You might consider it. You’ll make the people feel more proud to be working with you. If anyone could be on the team, the team is ordinary. If you are told you’re special and needed, you’re more likely to give of yourself. It worked for me. I told you this leader was a master.
Next, she outlined the meeting and was careful to respect time limits. Managing time and keeping the meeting moving along is one of the most difficult tasks to master in running a meeting. When discussion went off track, she said, “I think we can address that later, but now we need to discuss this” and she drew the meeting back on track. What she did was balance the focus on people and the focus on the task. That’s what I call a meeting magician.