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On a High Note: Start every meeting with a Success Story

On a High Note: Start every meeting with a Success Story

Quick… how many meetings do you attend in a week? A dozen? More? How many meetings are you the leader?

How do those meetings typically get started? Do you dive right into the meeting work? Do you review an agenda? Does the meeting start 5 minutes late, then just rush through the meeting action items?

Meetings are constant. Some may say they are a necessary evil, but regardless of your viewpoint, they aren’t going away. How many of them do you walk away from a meeting not any better than when you started? How many meetings did you start, wishing any piece of this meeting could be positive, no matter how big or small?

You’re not alone. More than 70% of meetings are considered to be ineffective, poorly run or inefficient. Although I can’t give unsolicited advice here on how to improve your meeting, I will give a quick, simple tip on improving it from the beginning:

Start every meeting with a Success Story
Think about it. You have meeting items you must accomplish. Some may be serious. Some conversations may be intense. Why not start on a high note? Starting with a success story allows a way for you to 1) transition from whatever you were doing before (another meeting, another task etc) and 2) reset your expectations in a positive way.

How do you do it?: Lead the group and ask “Who has a success story for us today?” – the first few times you do this, you may have to set expectations. Let people know that no story is too small, and (at your choice) it can be personal or professional. Some worry allowing personal stories (for instances, my son won his first soccer game) may deviate from the importance of the meeting, however, this typically is not the case. People WANT to feel good about what they are doing – getting people in the right mindset – even if it’s about an item not related to the topic of the meeting, which will do that.

Be prepared with a few of your own stories to get people started. Did someone on the team lead a call and was better than average? Did someone else share an accolade about a milestone you reached? Did a product just launch? Is something about to happen, but there’s hype (or hope!) around its results? Did you finally finish moving out of a storage unit? Cook your first loaf of bread from scratch?

Try it out. It may feel awkward at first but eventually it becomes ingrained in the meeting. Starting the meeting off on a positive note helps anchor the team to move forward through the agenda in a better mindset… perhaps, even with a smile on their faces. 😊