I was in the UK all week this week. Apart from some ongoing challenges involving a large hole in my ceiling and the associated copious amounts of water in the wrong place in my living room, it has been a very good week.
It turns out there were at least four very significant meetings taking place last week that I either could, or arguably should, have been at. But I wasn’t at any of them. This was partly logistical. One was in Switzerland, one in Wisconsin, one in England and one in Illinois. And partly mental. Me not being at these meetings provided opportunity for me to do other things and meet other people. And partly physical. My body requested a week of Greenwich Mean Time.
I spoke with many of the people attending these meetings during the week. By telephone, email or in person. My advice – such as it was – to each of them, was to be present and to engage. This sounds obvious. And it is. But it is amazing how often attendees at significant meetings are not ‘present’ – sitting in the room but not really being there…their mind elsewhere. It is a long way to go, significant time to commit, and important opportunities to discuss. Be present. And engage.
Whenever I am responsible for one of these big meetings I always have the same goal…it’s simple. It always applies and always works…irrespective of the meeting. Ensure all participants leave feeling excited and energised. Simple to say but not always simple to achieve. And I have a secondary goal – finish with the attendees wanting more.
My first approach to achieve these goals is to prepare the meeting based on the assumption that every participant has chosen to be present – that they are volunteers. And that my job is to make them want to volunteer to come to the next meeting I arrange. If they leave my meeting excited and energised…and wanting more…then there’s a pretty good chance they will want to come next time.
Choice of words is important. Excited. My preferred definition of excited is that someone is stimulated to activity. I want my meetings to stimulate the attendees to activity. To leave wanting to make things happen – topics we have discussed in our meeting. Important topics of relevance to us all.
And energised. To be energised is literally the process of being given energy. And energy is all about power and ability to do work. Energy makes things happen and makes things change. Energy does things for us.
So hopefully the strength of the combination is clear. Excited and Energised. Stimulated to activity and empowered to make things happen.
And this also explains why I am not a big enthusiast for minutes from these meetings…and especially action minutes. If the meeting has achieved my goals then attendees leave knowing what they are going to do and feel able to make them happen. Actions will be underway or complete way before any minutes are finalised.
And the wanting more is a combination of enjoyment and frustration. Enjoyment is good. Anything we enjoy we tend to want more of. Frustration is more subtle. This can only be a sense of frustration that we did not have enough time…this is the emotion that drives us to want to do more…or to come again next time.
I heard amazing things from every meeting I didn’t attend this week. So much excitement. So much energy. It leapt off the emails and resounded down the phone lines. Much good will happen now. Many food things are happening already.
Maybe I should not go to more meetings.