Leadership Between the Lines

Meetings that Suck the Life Out of You (And what to do instead)

I had a meeting today with a team who'd asked me for some feedback. Our meeting was to discuss some of the core challenges they were having and how we might address. This is an awesome company, great group of people, doing good and important work, and all totally wiped out. Exhausted.

 

I did my prep for the meeting. Signed into their platform. And hung out in the waiting room. Zoom zoom, I was ready to roll. With each minute that I waited, I felt my energy dissipate. Not a lot, just enough to notice it was losing power. (Energy dip #1.)

 

They came in 3 minutes late. We spent a few minutes on getting them settled and grounded with what THIS meeting was about. Having just rushed from their last meeting to this one (and the one before that, and the one before that), they were not at all prepared or ready to be present for this meeting. (Energy dip #2.)

 

They'd also not eaten (it was 2pm). After their download of how hungry, tired, and frazzled they all were, I offered a regrouping of what we were doing. Suggested a moment to breathe and reboot. And then we dug in. It was bumpy and exhausting. I rebooted throughout, however, when we finished, I needed a nap too! I had caught the energy of the team. (Instead of a nap, I debriefed with a quick video, took a quick walk, and came back and wrote up feedback for the team that, should they integrate it, will make their lives a lot easier. Then I wrote this for YOU.) 

 

Without reliving the details of this meeting (and if you do want more live dialogue on this you can see the 10 minute video reflection I did right after on Instagram), here are 5 things you need to be doing if you want to create a healthier culture, a present, engaged, and nourished team, and better meetings. Especially now as we navigate the pandemic, remote work, coming back to work, and so much more. (There are plenty more things you can do, and these are a good start.)

 

  1. Create agreements as a team for time integrity, preparation, and what's important to you.
  2. Set your team up to be able to honor agreements (when you're back to back to back, it's simply impossible to be on time, fully present, prepared, and productive).
  3. Do your personal preparation for your meeting (IEP Sheet works great); what you want to get out of it, how you want to show up, how you'll take care of yourself to show up well, etc.
  4. Tend to your energetic hygiene WAY before the meeting: food, hydration, sleep, what you allow into your space, who you hang with, your thoughts -- all of these impact your energetic hygiene.
  5. If you're late as a group, STOP the meeting. Do not force through it. Name it. Address it head on. Take a break (10 minutes is magic) for everyone to tend to what they need to do so they can show up present. (This will reduce your meeting time and increase the quality QUICK.) 

 

This meeting I was in was scheduled for an hour. At the 50-minute mark, knowing that those last 10 minutes were not going to be awesome, I suggested we close early and they take those last 10 minutes instead for self-care and readying themselves for their next meeting. They did.

 

The truth is that while I'm thrilled I got to experience this with them (challenges that have  become a part of a culture's "it's just the way we do it," mean lots of low hanging fruit for becoming more effective and happy), it's also true that had everyone been prepared, present, and on time, we would have knocked our work out in 20 minutes. Replicate this, and you have a lot more time vs. time in meetings.

 

Seventy percent of this work is in awareness -- with this awareness, this team can now get into action and make it better.

 

How about you? Where do you see yourself in this? How are your team meetings? How's your virtual presence? How are YOU showing up on pixels? Little shifts go a long way. So much good work to do here. Reach out if you want help. 

 

In the meantime, here are three resources I can offer right off the bat to support you (that don't involve hiring me for a bigger engagement or private consulting):

 

💥 IEP Learning Lab 3/11 on Activating the IEP Sheet (to help with meeting prep, getting in front of your day, and claiming your space).

☄️Team Health & Cultural Sustainability Cohort starts 4/7 (8 weeks with me to help you nourish, energize, and set your team/culture up right -- for real). Spaces limited. We're covering a lot of good stuff for you in Culture Creating 2021....

🎯 Virtual Presence & Meeting IEP Toolkit — Self-paced online program (101 minutes to better meetings and presence — to help you prepare, show up, and make your meetings awesome).

And of course my books Contagious Culture & Contagious You have entire chapters devoted to making meetings more useful. 💥💪🏼

 

Good luck out there. We have so much good work to do together. Take really good care of yourself, lead with intention and action, and your team and culture will follow. 

 

Cohort