Hosting Healthy Meetings
Faculty and staff members at Ohio State hold hundreds of meetings every day. Unfocused and unruly meetings create stress, lower morale, waste time, and are generally a source of major frustration. There are simple strategies to strengthen meeting effectiveness such as creating an agenda and establishing a meeting purpose. Meeting productivity will be strengthened with the use of these type of strategies.
To make a significant difference in not only what gets accomplished, but how participants “show up” in meetings and the level of personal engagement and investment they extend, we suggest the use of norms or guidelines. When a group who regularly meets together can agree to embrace healthy meeting behaviors, group dynamics shift, openness and trust abounds, and creativity soars.
Click on the links below for tools and suggestions about holding healthy meetings. Tried and true strategies are offered, as well as a model for healthy meeting behaviors, and ideas for gathering the wisdom of a large group of people.
Activities and Tools
- In your conference rooms, place table tents that list reminders about how to have a productive meeting. Use paper, or inexpensive acrylic frames. This can be done anonymously to create conversation. Use the Healthy Meeting Concepts document as a guide.
- Use the Healthy Meeting Tool to gauge the effectiveness of your meetings. Be sure to respond to the feedback offered.
- Start every meeting high on the mood elevator by offering appreciation and “good news.”
- Use these meeting starters to reinforce these concepts.
- Appoint a meeting “guardian” to stop the meeting at predetermined times for a process check. At the process check, the guardian should ask the group, “What is working? What are we doing (or have we done) that contributes to the results we want to achieve?” and then, after some discussion and recording of what is working, ask, “What can we do to be even more effective in achieving our results?”
- Hang a mood elevator poster outside of a meeting room. Invite meeting participants to identify their mood as they enter the room. You can even consider using adhesive dots to identify moods on the poster.
- Ask meeting participants to refrain from using electronic devices. If necessary, provide 1-2 minute breaks during the meeting to allow for checking urgent messages.
- Use a new format for meetings known as the Art of Hosting. The Art of Hosting and Convening Meaningful Conversations explores hosting as an individual and collective leadership practice. It is a way for the group to learn and find new ways for working with others to create innovative and comprehensive solutions.
- Open Space
- World Café
- The Art of Powerful Questions
- Art of Hosting for Culture Change Facilitators: Review the thoughts and ideas covered in the March 30-April 1 session.
- Here is an example of how one unit has used a World Cafe on driving results to point out how the concepts covered in the culture retreats drive results.
Articles, Books, and Research
- Hackett, Marion. Effective meeting skills, 1988. Crisp Publications.
- Keiffer, George. The strategy of meetings, 1988. Simon and Schuster.
- Lencioni, Patrick. Death by Meeting, 2004. Jossey-Bass.
- Scholtes, Peter R. The team handbook, 1988. Joiner Associates.
- Silberman, Mel. 101 ways to make meetings active, 1999. Jossey-Bass.
- Wujec, Tom. Five star mind, 1995. Doubleday Canada Limited