We asked members of the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) to share their creative and unique ways for keeping staff meetings fresh and productive. Here's what they had to say.
1. Follow the Agenda
"We avoid slow meetings by not just having an agenda, but also by staying on track. A clear vision of what will be discussed and what needs to be achieved is essential. We make the meeting fun as well as informative. By picking a focus for each meeting and coming up with a creative way to get the staff interested, we assure the meeting is not a waste of time."
Sue Meitner, EO Philadelphia
President and CEO, Centennial Lending Group, LLC
2. Start and End on Time
"Every employee should be able to count on the fact that they'll get out of the meeting at exactly the time they were told beforehand. We also try to limit staff meetings to an hour. To ensure this happens, we've a 'sidetrack alert'. As soon as someone starts going off on a tangent, an agenda keeper interrupts with 'sidetrack alert!' to get the meeting back on track."
Vladimir Gendelman, EO Detroit
CEO, Company Folders, Inc
3. Focus on "Why"
"Each team member reports a recent win and quickly gives a 'what-so what-now what' report, which helps us avoid regurgitating status reports, and get straight to the significant events. We end meetings with a 15-minute wild card slot focused on brainstorming, problem solving, and business development activities. This works because it gives ownership for a successful meeting to everyone, it respects everyone's time, and it's designed to hit the high notes--the why instead of the what."
Deb Gabor, EO Austin
President, Sol Marketing
4. Lead by Example
"As a former U.S. Navy SEAL, I model my business after how a real SEAL platoon functions and holds core values (including trust, candor, personal responsibility and assertiveness). The most important thing is for me as the leader is to come prepared and lead by example. I also make sure my team owns a part of the meeting, which really holds their attention. Setting up this environment, provides the mechanics for accountability and successful meetings."
Brandon Webb, EO New York
CEO, Force12 Media
5. Create an Experience
"We gather weekly for what we call 'Treat Tuesday.' One team member is selected as Studio Sheriff, and it's the person's job to provide snacks and food for the meeting, as well as to share an inspirational quote and video. Ultimately, this person controls the experience. Also, peer nominations are solicited for the Team Member of the Week--one who went above and beyond the call of duty in the previous week. The winner receives a gift card for lunch, the movies, and iTunes."
Hussain Manjee, EO Dallas
President and Chief Success Officer, DHD Films
6. Reach Personal Levels
"I not only touch on needs for the business, but also on personal needs for my employees. One of the most recent meetings was about personal goals for this year. I had everyone pair up and find ways in which they can reach their goals. I have an 'open door policy' too, so those wishing to bring non-employees to meetings may also do so. I've found myself lecturing employees' children and pets who were also in attendance; showing my staff I care keeps them motivated and productive."
Theresa Fette, EO Las Vegas
CEO, Provident Trust Group
To learn more about EO members' entrepreneurial experiences and insights, visit Overdrive, EO's global business blog.