Meetings, virtual or in person, are a big part of how you conduct business. Whether it’s a small meeting or a big one, there are some things they have in common. The meeting invite is sent and accepted. Now what?
A few scenarios I hear from my clients include:
- Everyone sits in the same seats, bringing with them the same mindsets and the rules for engagement, formal and informal, that have been passed down from meeting to meeting.
- Agenda in hand, you launch straight into the business without a nod to the noise in the heads of the people around the table or conference speaker.
- People ignore the ground rules or meeting rules posted prominently in the space and engage in behavior that runs counter to a productive meeting and nobody steps in to address it.
What if you created a series invitations for people that helped them to get curious, get present and get real?
At the beginning of every experience I lead for an individual or group, I extend a series of invitations. These invitations set the tone for our work together and give people permission to set aside the many things competing for their attention. These invitations have become one of my signature session elements and a frequently integrated practice for all those who willingly accept them.
Today, I’m sharing them with you!
Be Curious, Not Critical (or cynical, or certain)
An open mind is a curious mind. This is where change and possibility, ideas and solutions can be found. This is where creativity can flourish. This is where my best work occurs. When you are critical, or cynical or certain, you are closed. This is where the problems live. This is where judgment and criticism live. This is where ideas shrink and fade. Creativity and negativity cannot occupy the same space. Be Curious.
Be Fully Present
If you’re distracted by the noise of your life and work, you’re not able to be in the room. If you’re unable to silence those noises, you’re unable to fully engage and benefit from the experience that you’ve agreed to attend. I recently excused a team member who was rushing in to attend a session when she declared “I’m only here for support, I’m not really going to participate.” What good would that serve? I gave her permission to be elsewhere. She benefitted by not feeling as though she were being held against her will. The group benefitted by having fully engaged participants. Be fully present or excuse yourself. Give others permission to do the same.
Assume Positive Intent
Most people are doing the best they can at any given moment to do the work they think they’re supposed to be doing. There are exceptions, of course. When you assume positive intent, you show up differently for the conversation, the interaction or the experience. It’s an opportunity to give people permission to show up differently. Assume positive intent.
Contribute. Participate. Engage. Interact. Respond. Be generous with your time, your talent, your treasure. Share your opinions, your thoughts, your ideas. Don’t withhold your genius and your unique perspective. Extend grace. Be generous.
Ask For What You Need
What if we all had permission to ask for what we needed in a given moment? So often we have a question we want to ask, a clarification, something to help us be more comfortable and we don’t ask for what we need. We suffer silently. We suffer not-so-silently and begin to act out. (I’ve heard it said that we are all just babies in big bodies. This shows up in meetings often.) When you create a culture where asking for what you need is welcomed and expected, lots of little problems and tensions disappear. Create a culture where asking for what you need is welcomed and expected. Please. Ask for what you need.
Reflect & Act
How could extending these invitations to yourself, those you lead and those you serve impact you? Your work? Your clients?
How could using these invitations as a way to start your next meeting increase participation and enhance relationships?
What invitations do you regularly extend to the people you meet with? I’d love to know! I’d love to add some new ones to my list.
Download your copy of these invitations and see what happens when you invite yourself and others to be present and be at their best.