Gerry Lewis is President and Owner of Gerry Lewis Inc., an internal communications organization specializing in employee engagement and change management communication. Gerry Lewis has led training workshops, conferences and employee events in over 50 countries. Gerry is also an award-winning author. SHINE: Communicate Your Way to a Brighter Career won first place in the 2015 Small Business Trends Book Awards.
Avoid the Four Sins of Meetings
Gerry has defined the “four sins of meetings”, problems that are experienced in meetings that go wrong:
- Wastefulness. Far too many meetings that don’t need to be held.
- Disorderly conduct. The case of a meeting that went out of control. People are having their own meetings and not focusing on the person leading the meeting. This shows how important an agenda is. Not having a clear agenda is the start of disorderly conduct.
- Lateness. Sometimes people arrive late, it’s inevitable. A common mistake is to say to everyone: “James just joined us, let me update you in everything we talked about.” Good for James, but the others will start doing something else. It’s better to say: “James, we’re in this item of the agenda, and at the end of the meeting I can brief you.” and continue with the meeting without delays.
- Disengagement. It’s when you look around the meeting room, and everyone looks so bored. If you want an engaged audience, you have to ask for people to participate instead of doing yourself all the talk.
Gerry’s Top 3 strategies to run effective meetings
- Know exactly what you want the outcome of the meeting to be. The objective has to be very clear such as “making a decision to invest on this” or “approve this proposal”, otherwise don’t hold the meeting.
- Have the right people in the room. “The more people the better” is usually a mistake. If the decision maker is not in the room, you are not going to reach the objective.
- Be able to manage your time. It shows that you’re in control, and that you have a sense of direction for where this meeting needs to go.
The mindset for engaging meetings
As a meeting leader, the mindset you need to run engaging meetings includes:
- You have to add value. What kind of value can people expect for the time they invest in the meeting?
- Always show some type of progress. Make clear that we’re moving forward, not going in circles meeting after meeting.
- Recognize people in the room. “Thanks for suggesting this last meeting.” Thus, people will be motivated to engage.
Potential pitfalls of conference calls
The biggest challenge of conference calls is to control something that you can’t see. First, you need an agenda, it’s critical.
- No protocol. No one seems to take the lead. If you’re the chair, make a quick roll call. This will show that you’re the chair and will also show who is on the call and make them accountable to participate.
- Silence on the call. Tell everyone: “If I don’t hear from you, I will call on you.”
- Someone monopolizes the call. Demonstrate your leadership, recognize the dominant’s contribution but ask others’ input first.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Routine to Shine
Find the opportunity to put yourself a little bit into the spotlight. Don’t do it out of necessity, do it because you know you’re gonna to get better. Make sure you have some type of audience every day.
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