Meetings are an inevitable part of our professional and personal lives. If you're lucky, you are attending or running meetings that are structured to be positive and productive, but my experience tells me that not many people are that lucky.
Still, there are two simple things you can do in every meeting that will help you grow, regardless of the quality of the meeting. They are easy to incorporate and will help you make sure that you get something from every meeting you attend.
1. Build connections and deepen relationships.
For every meeting you attend, be on the lookout for ways that you can either connect two people who don't know each other or find a way to deepen a relationship that already exists.
For example, you're attending a meeting outside of your organization--look for a couple of people who may not know each other and do an introduction, explaining why you think they should know each other.
For internal meetings, where you are more likely to know everyone in attendance, look for a way to deepen the relationship. One of the best ways to do this is by asking someone a positive question, like:
- Tell me about a small win you've had this week--I'd love to hear about a success!
- What projects are you working on that I could help you move forward?
- What are you feeling most proud of this week?
- What are you feeling most positive about this week?
At first it might feel awkward to do this, but you will find that the more you practice asking these questions, the more comfortable you will become. These will also open up a more positive relationship with the person you are talking to.
2. Facilitate the sharing of learning
The second thing you can do at every meeting is to facilitate the sharing of learning from the meeting. While someone may be responsible for keeping minutes, this usually is more about what tasks need to be followed up on and who will be in charge of that task. This is usually not about what is being learned.
What I'm suggesting here is that you focus on what is being learned during the meeting--insights, information, etc.--and then volunteer to do a brief summary to be emailed to the group. If someone mentions a particular website or article, that could be included in the summary. If the group arrives at a particular insight or idea, that would be included as well.
This doesn't need to be long--often a few bullet points will do the trick. But if you get in the habit of being the steward of learning for a meeting, this will not only help you focus on what is being learned, it will also position you as someone who is helping the group learn from its experiences as well.
With these two simple tasks, you can make EVERY meeting meaningful. Try them out for 30 days and see what happens. . .