If there is one thing that people complain about on every church staff, at every church in the universe, it's meetings.
People often act like meetings are just the worst.
They are so boring.
They steal time that could be productive.
And, let’s be real, many times these critiques are accurate.
We’ve all been in meetings where we thought...
Why do I have to be here?
Someone please end this.
If I close my eyes, maybe people will think I’m praying.
Here’s the thing: Meetings don’t have to be the worst.
In fact, there are a few meetings on my weekly schedule that are my most anticipated events on my calendar.
Let me share a few thoughts, and hopefully these will help all of us lead better meetings.
1. It's Consistent
The first reason I look forward to certain meetings is that they are consistent.
By that, I mean that I know what to expect.
I know what time the meetings will start, I know how they will run and I know what time they will end.
In my experience, people will begin to turn negative toward a particular meeting when it becomes inconsistent.
If you want to build resistance, go ahead and consistently allow a meeting to go over the scheduled time.
People will likely be outwardly cordial about the disruption to their schedule, but on the inside, their frustration will build and negative comments at the water cooler will follow.
If you want to lead better meetings, honor people’s time and expectations.
Make it a serious priority to be consistent.
2. I Like These People
Another reason I look forward to meetings is that I like the people I’m with.
This doesn’t mean that everyone in the meeting is part of a team that I built or that they are just like me.
Mostly, it means that I know them, I understand where they are coming from, what they care about, and what makes them laugh.
Here’s my point: If you want to lead better meetings, it’s important that you help the people in your meetings feel connected.
This can be accomplished slowly over time by reserving a section of each meeting to be relational.
I often accomplish this through a creative question that each person in the meeting answers.
3. This Matters
For me, the biggest reason I look forward to certain meetings is that I believe they actually matter.
In other words, the topic of conversation or the task at hand is significant—decisions will be made that impact the future of our ministry or church.
I would argue that most meetings feel boring and feel irrelevant because...they are, at least they feel that way to the participants.
If you want to lead better meetings, make sure that what is being discussed or decided matters.
If there isn’t at least one item on the agenda that feels important, you likely have a boring meeting on your hands.
Another way to remind your people that “this matters” is by using your meeting time to reinforce your values through stories.
My staff meetings include a time called “stories that need to be told.”
They are stories that team members bring to the meeting that reinforce our values.
It’s a time for each of us to be reminded that our work matters and that lives are being changed.
4. I Have a Voice
Something that all of us value is being heard.
We don’t necessarily have to make the decision ourselves but we want to know that our opinions and concerns were listened to.
If you want to lead better meetings, make sure that the people around the table have a voice.
A few years ago, I learned an important lesson on how to make this happen.
You’ve probably noticed that some people always speak up in your meetings.
They are more aggressive, come to quick opinions and speak their mind.
Others are quieter.
Some of these people are content to talk less.
However, they need to be heard in order for your team to make well informed decisions.
So, how do you get their input?
First, ask them!
It’s the job of the leader to create a meeting environment where those who are louder are occasionally silenced and those who are quieter are occasionally solicited.
There is a second element to this.
Some people need time to process their thoughts.
In order to get their voice, they need the agenda a few days before the meeting starts.
Understand, if you neglect to publish an agenda before your meeting, you are automatically silencing the internal processors on your team.
And, you need their voices in key decisions.
5. It's Action Oriented
One last reason that I look forward to certain meetings...stuff gets done!
Nothing makes a meeting feel irrelevant like circling around the same issue or project week after week without making any progress.
Good meetings lead to action.
That’s kind of the point isn’t it?
If you want to lead better meetings, make sure you are creating action points and assigning people to own these action points.
Then, have these people report back to the team on their progress at the next meeting.
All I’m saying is that simply talking about issues and tasks without assigning action points will send a message—that your meetings don’t really lead to anything.
Many church workers believe that meetings keep them from the tasks that really matter.
I would suggest that there is a way to conduct a team meeting that leads and equips people to and for the tasks that really matter.
I believe that staff meetings can and should be the best part of the work week.
Hopefully one or two of these ideas will help you lead better meetings.