Another Meeting? Are You Kidding!?!

Another meeting? Are you kidding me?!?! «« You have someone on your team that hates meetings — and it might be you! Ministry culture seems to be filled with meetings. We go from meeting to meeting each adding to our to-do list. We take our to-do list home, because it still must get done. It’s a recipe for burnout.

Let’s get these meetings streamlined with these three strategies:

BE PREPARED

Don’t just run into the meeting with a one-page agenda. You get frustrated as the agenda gets knocked off course by something unexpected or the group ends up lingering on something that should be 5 minutes. Instead, step back and answer a few questions before you set your agenda >>

  1. What is my goal for the meeting? Think through the best way to accomplish that goal. If it doesn’t require a meeting, find another way.
  2. What decisions, ideas or feedback will be requested of team members? Some people will be great on the spot decision makers >> idea sharers >> feedback providers; others may need some time to think. Decide how you will adapt for both styles.
  3. Who needs to know what before the meeting? Think of how to address potential resistance by giving people information, opportunity, input or direction they need to be at their best for the meeting.

GET YOUR BLACK BELT IN FACILITATION

Every leader should get trained in the art of navigating conversation with just the right balance of sharing, questions and moving the conversation forward. No easy task. No easy formula. You might get knocked down to the mat a time or two.

It is also critical for the black belt facilitator to notice when certain things are worth a side trip from the agenda. Keep these short and create a parking lot to house that new idea, topic or concern if it is eating up too much time. Don’t forget about the parking lot items >>> be sure to come back to them! The biggest mistake is to park something and never deal with it. People lose trust in bringing up off-topic ideas AND you lose the innovative thinking that a rabbit trail may provide.

NAIL DOWN DECISIONS

Don’t you hate meetings where you don’t know what is next when you wrap up? Always save the last few minutes of your meeting to recap the action items, decisions or next steps. Too often people seem to have shared understanding and agreement in the meeting, only to walk out the door with a different understanding. So, a few things to remember at the end of your meeting:

  • Recap the “to-do” from the discussion.
  • Write it down – especially if it is a decision that might get confusing later.
  • Assign it to someone and follow up with them.

Experiment with these meeting facilitation strategies. Get feedback from the team about what is working and what is not. Don’t be afraid to change it up. Not every meeting needs to follow the same format or have the same goal — but be intentional, keep it on track and let everyone know what to expect and what to do next.

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Annie Perdue Olson

Annie is founder of Leading Better Together, guiding leaders through the relationship and people challenges that sidetrack ministry. With 20+ years of experience in nonprofit management and pastoral ministry she equips people and teams to work better together. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Change Leadership from St. Thomas University and received her coaching certification from the Center of Coaching Excellence.

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