As a leader of a team or company, you will likely be leading meetings of people. One of the valuable areas of training I received in EO is managing energy levels in meetings. Energy in meetings is not static. You won’t have an all high or all low meetings. Meeting energy ebbs and flows and can be managed by an effective moderator.
A good meeting leader will have his finger on the pulse of the energy in the room and be intentional about how it is managed.
Some ideas on energy management in meetings:
Establish rhythm early. One-word opens is my favorite. Each person says one word to describe where their head is right this minute.
Lighting rounds are a great tool for managing energy. Each person must answer a question in a short sentence. If it’s an intense business meeting, the lightning round can be related to the topic at hand like “What is the worst thing that can happen to us if we don’t resolve this soon?”
If it’s a weekly staff meeting, try fun lighting rounds like “What fun toy would you buy if you had $100mm today and why?” or “What is your favorite summer family tradition?”
Don’t always relieve tension. This is a tough one for me, but is especially important in peer-group / forum meetings or tight team meetings when dealing with a challenging situation. When something is uncomfortable or challenging, there will often be long periods of silence. As the meeting leader, use this silence and tension to your advantage. Don’t be the one to break it. Let it go. Let the team deal with it and see what happens.
End intentionally. I try to use One word close. We do a quick re-check of everyone in the room. If anyone uses a word like “Anxious” or “Stressed” and everyone else in the room feels resolved and at ease, then we may need to extend the meeting a little bit and deal with it, or more often step aside for a one-on-one to talk it out.
I’ll admit it, I’ve come to love well run meetings. They are productive, quick, and fun. After a good meeting you feel connected, accomplished, and healthy. If your meetings don’t feel this way, then it’s time to rethink the structure… or add some structure to begin with.