Using Meetings to Motivate Employees

Question: When should a meeting also be used as an opportunity to motivate employees? The answer is simple … Always! Put another way, all meetings should have a primary or secondary objective and outcome of motivation and inspiration — be it to have attendees walk away with a new sense of clarity, purpose, or dedication to the success of the assignments, goals, results and/or the standing of the organization and its management.

In other words, if a physical meeting doesn’t make every attendee’s task easier and more tangible, or raise the level of performance in pursuit of greater results, then maybe there shouldn’t have been a physical meeting in the first place? If it’s just to keep everyone in-check and on course, with no added element that makes an attendee walk away with a feeling that the physical meeting was worthwhile and added to the individual and overall effort, then maybe a phone call, or better yet, a trackable memo or on-line exchange among the congregants would have been sufficient — and a more efficient usage of everyone’s time?

We are fortunate to live in a high-tech time where valuable and critical exchanges, that in previous generations could only have occurred in physical meetings, are able to be conducted using various quality technologies at our disposal, that do a darn good job of replicating most of the nuances of meeting in-person. At the same time, the demands on our precious time (both personal and work time) coupled with the nomadic, on-the-run, agile and mobile work methods and rhythms that many of us function under today means that physical meetings, where everyone (including flex-schedule and home workers) can figure out a common place and time to gather without playing havoc with the rest of their mumbo-jumbo schedule, is a trick requiring some pretty neat and fleet time juggling, prioritization and activity management skills.

The answer: E-meet, and to virtually meet when you can, but to first consider whether the meeting is even necessary — or if a more routine and less schedule-disrupting alternative on-line or written communication method will do the trick? And when a physical meeting is the best solution, the justification and juice for it needs to be the extra motivational oomph that is either exacted, or arranged for to be imparted by others in the room, by the meeting’s leader or organizer.

Does this mean less physical meetings? Not necessarily. It means better meetings — or more precisely, when a physical meeting is called for, the one organizing and running it needs to take extra care in considering that the people attending it need to leave with a nice slice of added inspiration as the justifier for having attended a physical meeting, when perhaps a call, memo, thread, blog, skype or teleconference would have achieved the same relatively satisfactorily — without throwing a dash of chaos into their regular rounds.

In older times you had to physically meet in order for all the ears in the room to hear a uniform message and get clarity on marching orders. But not now, thanks to modern technologies, thank goodness. We all remember those times when we scratched our heads thinking: “for that we had to have a meeting and pull me away from my regular work flow?”. Well the plot has thickened in this day and age — because people have other options to gain the same results that in the past were only achievable by face-to-facing it. Now people really feel put-upon if the meeting they scrambled to attend didn’t lift them to greater outcomes. And if they’re no longer traditional, HQ 9-to-5 desk-dwellers (a diminishing breed), they’ll really shake their heads and hold that possibly unnecessary meeting against the organizer, which could become counter-productive — and a real bummer.

All meetings need to have a motivational element — today more than ever — or else there’s no reason to have a meeting, and that goes for on-line E-meetings and teleconferencing too. If not, then don’t have a meeting. Leaving people lifted or more clarified, capable and/or dedicated should be the currency and litmus test for both physical and on-line meetings. It’s parallel to what should be expected of speakers. All featured speakers should be ‘motivational speakers’ to some degree — or else, why have the speaker or put everyone through a speech, when a memo, thread or blog is all that’s needed?

The bottom line is that the stakes on people’s time usage are much higher these days. We need to be more careful not to tie people and their time down, and to respect their more-than-ever hectic and complex work schedules and work-life balancing acts with regard to meetings. Let’s not have less meetings — just better, more thought-out meetings where everyone walks away with their heads held up high because they were better off for having attended it … a great personal and work motivator, if there ever was one.

For more information about Davinci Meeting Rooms, visit our website.

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Ray Lindenberg

Ray Lindenberg

Ray Lindenberg is President of WANY - The Workspace Association of New York, and IN-Cert - The International Cooperative of A+ Certified Workspaces; and is the Chief Consultant & Innovation Officer at the Winning Workspaces Hospitality Group.