How to add energy to your dull team meetings

How many times have you led a meeting and not felt good about the energy in the room?

Did you feel your people were not as engaged as you had hoped? Did you wonder, “How can I change this?”Employees do not enjoy sitting for extended periods of time and listening to you or anyone else do a data dump. So how do you keep them engaged?

As I facilitate all-day monthly meetings of my Vistage CEO and key executive peer groups, I remember something one of my mentors said to me: “You are the manager of energy in your meetings.” If this is top of mind in any meeting you lead, you will discover more success and satisfaction.

The other important intention in my meetings is to connect my members as human beings. When people connect as human beings, trust develops.

Let me share a few ideas for energizing your meetings.

Check in
I start every meeting with some sort of energizer exercise. A simple one is to have everyone check in. I use a form asking them to rate their life in three areas:  Personal, health and business on a scale of 1-10, with “10” being outstanding. Then I give them three to four minutes to verbally share with the group. You will note that two of the three have to do with their life outside of work, their human side.

Another exercise is to have them visualize the room as the United States. Tell them to go stand in the state where they grew up. Then have them tell where they are specifically and one memory from their childhood or when they were in high school or what they did during their summers. The ideas for questions are unlimited but one question only.

Idea sheet
Recently I handed out a packet of colored pens and one 3×5 sticky note pad to each member. On the wall I taped a flip chart sheet for each person. My instructions were to jot down an idea that came up for them during the meeting and stick it to their “idea sheet.”

I also asked them to record suggestions, encouragements, and ideas for their fellow members and stick them to the appropriate sheets. This created a lot of energy as we took several mini-breaks to post. By the end of the day everyone had several stickies on their sheet.

A good way to know how your meeting went is to do a Plus/Delta. What did you like about today’s meeting? What should we do differently? You can also ask everyone to share one takeaway from the meeting. Everyone listens differently and is listening for something appropriate to them. Sharing the learning in the room is valuable for everyone.

Be the manager of energy during your next meeting. Commit to doing at least one energizer exercise. Remember, when your employees are connected as human beings, trust develops and creates a high performing team.

Pete Michaels is Chair at Vistage International