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Tips to Plan a Great Staff Meeting

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 @ 12:41 AM

If you are planning another long and boring staff meeting likely to annoy and frustrate others, consider these tips to engage and inspire your staff, instead. Meetings are often the best way to communicate and refocus energy and inspiration- but only if they are done right. 
Staff meetings are often misguided - a litany of bad things happening to good people. One by one, employees report on recent wrong-doings, bad news, to-do lists, safety updates, cutbacks or new red tape or government compliance regulations lurking at the back door.
Here are some ideas to enliven your well run staff meeting...
·         Report Good News!  Every meeting should start with some uplifting news: Targets reached, customer kudos, disasters averted or problems fixed. Help people remember the good things so that the challenging things reported later go down a bit smoother. Remember that most people are only noticed when they do something wrong. Meetings are an opportunity to enliven people with recognition, the very thing we crave most at work (Robert Half International, Recognition, the Key to Satisfaction report).
·         Focus on Purpose. Start your meeting by reminding your staff about the contributions they make when they show up for work. Who are our customers? What value do we provide to them? What unites us all? People often get sidetracked as they focus on endless to-do lists, lists that seem only to grow and never get done. This is not some obscure mission building activity and it does not have to take a long time. It should be a quick, relevant and timely report of happenings, procedures or news that bind people to your organization’s purpose. You don't have to be a motivational speaker to give a motivational speech.
·         Attendees Should be Relevant.  Every meeting should have a purpose, an agenda and a specific group of people who need to attend. Don't invite people who don't need to be present.  Everyone invited should be expected to actively participate by presenting updates, ideas or progress.
·         Leave time for Creativity. Challenge the routines and methods your department operates under by encouraging innovative thought. Expect people to think outside the box so work routines don't become stale and monotonous. Set time aside for employees to present ideas that could revolutionize their work. Make it mandatory for people to bring at least one idea (big or small) that will spark conversation on how you can alter routines and work flow to be more productive.  Recognize their creativity.
·         Discuss Conflict. Conflict usually gets pushed under the carpet, where it festers while morale plunges. Meetings need to be a safe forum to discuss issues that arise when people don't see eye to eye. Unless conflict is resolved, it will take its toll on your staff’s morale.
·         Ask for Help. Some people (maybe everyone) are literally swamped with work and the madness needs to stop or they will drop the ball. Create a segment of time where staff can report the most pressing issues and rally the group for some support.  Make it safe to ask for help from the team.
·         Laugh at the Tough Stuff. This is not meant as a goofy activity or a time waster. The point is to laugh at your stress and release negative emotions which will create a more balanced perspective. Any motivational speech should have some humor to up it's impact.
Spend time planning good stuff, too. Lift people’s spirits by involving them in planning events that they can enthusiastically anticipate.
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Tags: motivational speaker, motivational speech, staff meetings

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