I once worked for a startup with a CEO who often held all-day meetings with his senior staff. All day. In a tiny conference room. No windows. No breaks. No escape.
We’d discuss everything in these meetings: advertising, hiring, product names, competitors. No agenda. No particular order. The CEO loved these gatherings, but his senior staff couldn’t understand what they were doing there.
That’s one of the major reasons so many employees dread meetings: They don’t know what they’re doing there or why the meeting matters. So how can they possibly think of it as a good use of their time?
The easiest—and most overlooked—method for turning your meetings from dreaded to inspirational is simply to show your staff why the meeting
Inspiring your attendees this way isn’t difficult at all. Here’s how you do it.
My wife works for a software company that makes real estate tools to help businesses manage their locations and open new ones.
Recently, the company held an annual meeting with a customer—a large chain of dollar stores. As the meeting opened, the dollar store’s CEO stood up and said, “You might not realize that what you do for us is important, but it is. Last year, because you did your job well, we were able to open more stores and bring affordable products to areas that need them the most. You helped us make people’s lives better.”
The CEO explained to my wife’s company why their work really
You can do this too.
If you run an IT department, remind your staff in meetings how valuable their work is to the organization. Anyone who’s been in an office building during a power outage knows we all depend on our technology to do our jobs—computers, printers, copiers, and scanners. That means your IT folks, who keep the technology running, provide the lifeblood of your organization. Remind them of that; it will inspire them.
I used to write for a large vitamin company. At the beginning of every writers meeting, our manager would say, “Let’s make some people healthier!”
That’s all it took. A simple, one-sentence reminder of why the meeting mattered. Every writer in the meeting was totally engaged. Why wouldn’t we be? We were making people healthier.
Find a way to link your meetings to a larger purpose—to the rest of your organization, to your community, even to the world if you can do it credibly.
You can also link your meetings to something smaller. Using the IT example again, instead of showing your IT staff how their work helps the whole organization, you can show them why it matters to Susan in HR, who makes sure everyone in the company understands their benefits—and who needs her computer running smoothly so she can do her job.
By the way, here’s a funny moment from one of those all-day meetings my former CEO used to hold. It’s a good example of why these marathon sessions didn’t inspire the attendees. At 4pm, about six hours into the meeting, an executive stood up and headed for the door.
Inspirational? Not quite.