One-on-one meetings are markedly more effective for these employees, she says, because they build trust. But it’s important to remember, amidst all the buzz, that all employees benefit greatly from one-on-one time with leaders, enjoying the same nurturing of trust and enhanced results that follow.
Solo sessions with the upper brass are so important – for everyone! Here’s why.
Bet you can’t wait to see what he comes up with for the sixth day, huh? I kid. I love both Christmas and meetings. But during the holiday season, it’s easy to lose focus on work while visions of gift-giving, tree-decorating, and winter wonderlands dance in our heads. Can you revel in the Christmas spirit and still hold productive meetings?
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When life hands you boric acid and silicone oil, you make Silly Putty. Stay tuned for a profound statement: Sometimes things don’t go your way. You heard it here first. But the unexpected can open up new opportunities worth pursuing or different avenues worth exploring. When a meeting doesn’t go off exactly like you planned, you can curl up into the fetal position – or take on the challenge and deliver a stellar performance. The situation doesn’t dictate the outcome: You do.
Know what kind of meetings work best in the summer? I’ll meet you by the pool. I’ll meet you for iced tea on the patio. I’ll meet you in October when the sun’s gone into hibernation. Summer comes but once a year, and then only for a few short months. It’s the ideal time to change up the workplace routine, celebrate the season, and maintain productivity. How? Meet me at the beach, and I’ll tell you all about it.
Do you want to play another mindless video game, trying to get some puffed up superhero to save the world – or do you actually want to save the world? Game designer Jane McGonigal argues that “reality is broken” and that we need to make it work more like a game. World of Warcraft and others like it teach the “habits of heroes,” and facilitate breakthrough thinking. She positions gaming as a possible solution to our broken reality.
Which could all be a big load of B.S. The point is, though, she’s reframing something we think we know and giving it a twist, making us think about it in a different way. Is it time you did the same thing for your brand?
Your heart thumps in your chest; your breath is short and shallow. Your palms start to sweat, and you wonder if you can run fast enough to get away. From what? A rabid dog? A poisonous spider? A clown? No, your kid’s grade three class. Public speaking, whether to a group of 8 year olds or a gathering of senior executives, triggers a primal fight-or-flight response in nearly everyone. Great speakers are not immune; they’re just able to overcome the natural urge to crawl into a fetal position. You can too.
I’ve put the fun back in staff meetings, strategy meetings, board meetings, client meetings, and parent teacher conferences. I’m working on putting the fun back into root canals and tax preparation, just because I like a challenge. Team-building, though, isn’t as much a challenge as it is a minefield. Between introverts, grumps, awkwardness, forced bonding, or complete emotional meltdowns, team-building activities have been criticized as boring, uncomfortable, or a waste of time. (Exhibit A: The “Human Knot.”) But they don’t have to be.
“I don’t do meetings. At Chanel, there are no meetings. At Chanel, we do what we want, whenever we want and it works.” Karl Lagerfeld
You don’t need Karl Lagerfeld at your meeting. Scratch him right off your list. Chanel’s head designer can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants – but, I promise you, everyone under and around him has meetings to implement, produce, and market whatever Karl is thinking up. Concepts don’t just pop into existence and onto a runway. Meetings make them reality, or at least, they are a critical component towards that end. One of the keys to effective meetings is not only knowing who must be there – the people at Chanel seem to have this down – but what they should be doing. What are the roles that enhance every meeting and contribute to its efficacy?
Is social media a mere distraction, a time-waster that reduces productivity and dilutes meaningful conversation? Or is it a tool for deep communication, for global connectivity, for revolution? The answer is both – but it depends on how you use it. It’s like video cameras: we can use them to document the most important moments in our history or deliver a message with impact – or we can use them to make YouTube videos of our cats. To which end are you using social media in your meetings and live events? Are you supporting your message, or are you creating the equivalent of a cat playing with a piece of string – while perhaps a bit entertaining, completely distracting from your story?
Engage your people’s creativity; enlist their support, empower their ideas and decisions; with meetings. When done well, meetings are vehicles that move strategies and initiatives forward. Rather than wasting time, they maximize it. Rather than zapping energy, they ignite and revive it. Rather than your team rolling their collective eyes when they think you can’t see them, they’ll bring their best ideas to the boardroom table and make meaningful contributions. The question is “how”?
Some people are just ahead of their time; they are visionary forces that drive change and inspire awe. Then there are those who come upon a good idea, and, when it starts to become a norm, get to say, “See, I told you that! 20 years ago!” I’ll let you decide which I am, but I’ve been saying this forever: you need to measure the return on investment when it comes to meetings and events. Sure, it sounds obvious now. But 20 years ago. Revolutionary, I’m telling you. With greater demands on smaller budgets, it is even more important to measure your ROI now than ever. We can’t assume our events have value. We need proof.
Meetings can be productive, energizing forces for change and growth. You heard it here first. Well, you may have heard of these mythical effective, efficient meetings before but perhaps thought they were like unicorns. In fact, they’re real. The meetings, not the unicorns. Andrea Jung, former Avon CEO and Apple board member has seen them: “I feel like I’m part of history being made. I leave Apple board meetings, thinking, ‘I’ve got to do a better job.” She’s inspired, motivated by meetings and charges out to do a better job. How can you run meetings that create that much buzz in your people?
A big, fat budget is never a bad thing. Ask Iron Man. It cost $200 million to create the blockbuster Iron Man 3. Worth every penny (Or is it nickel now?). But a few guys with action figures, cardboard, and poster paint did a pretty good rendition in the “sweded” trailer they recreated. Who needs a big, fat budget when you have creativity? Ideally, you have both. Realistically, companies are paring down their event and meetings spending. Some have cut too deeply, forgetting that meetings are the way to get your message through and make it stick. We might need to reduce budgets, but we have to be conscious of our audiences and our content. What is the best way to deliver essential messages in budget-conscious times?
Delegate does not mean relegate. Delegating is empowering; it’s productive; it’s very Warren Buffett. Buffett’s biographer Roger Lowenstein said of the billionaire CEO, “He picked the chorus line but didn’t attempt the dance.” Then there are the leaders who relegate, or abdicate their responsibilities. They don’t attempt the dance; they don’t pick the chorus line; they don’t attend the performance. But they’re always there to pick up the awards and accolades!
“Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” John Kenneth Galbraith, economist, author, diplomat, guy who disliked meetings.
Meetings are necessary – but we treat them as necessary evils instead of the vital tools they can be. When we use meetings as opportunities for change and growth instead of extended coffee breaks, they become indispensable for the right reason. A critical element of effective meetings and events is choosing the right space. The right physical space puts your people in the right mental space.
Experiential marketing is not selling to a passive consumer; it is engaging an active imagination. British Airways did just this in busy Victoria Station. You’re used to long lines at the airport, but not like this – people were queuing up to play. BA created an installation with flight simulator games, and passengers became B777 pilots. Every 15 minutes, the person with the most accurate flight won two tickets to a featured destination. BA gave their audience an experience, instead of a pitch. With the push on experiential marketing, why not look at the return on experience?
Millennials. Coming soon to a workplace near you. Millennials, or Generation Y, account for one quarter of the Canadian population and a growing segment of the work force. Business basics, such as the meeting, have to be rethought so organizations can connect with the emerging “connected generation.”
You can fly from Detroit to DC for about $300. If you want to splurge and get warm towels and more legroom you’re looking at spending closer to $850. But for about $20,000, you can fly a G4 from a luxury fleet, enjoy all the legroom you want, and get served gourmet meals and wine that are not so much “complimentary” as they are on the company dime – but indulge yourself. Hate to get peckish on the 1.5 hour trip! The leaders of the “Big 3” automakers took option #3 on their trek from Motor City to DC. They were there to ask for money. No, this did not go over well. It’s like struggling companies spending millions on incentive travel – or is it?
It’s odd that two people speaking the same language find so many opportunities to misunderstand each other. Think of a few people who you just can’t seem to have a meaningful conversation with or come to a consensus with; they zig when you zag. You maybe speaking the same language, but you are doing it in very different ways. Author Philip Yancey wrote, “Misunderstanding must be nakedly exposed before true understanding can flourish.” We rarely have the luxury of exposing ourselves at work, especially nakedly. Wilson Learning has a more efficient, legal method: it has identified four different “social styles” that each of us falls under: Driver, Expressive, Amiable, and Analytical. Knowing and understanding your preferred style, as well as the styles of your coworkers, can help everyone communicate more effectively