How many times have you found yourself leaving a meeting feeling overwhelmed and more stressed than before you went in?

Or how often have you led a meeting and felt like the same issues were rehashed, and it was a struggle to get anyone excited about the current project?

Ah, meetings.

They’re an essential part of any business, but they’re also one of the most dreaded.

The main reason for this is what is supposed to be a productive, intensive exercise in teamwork often dissolves into a stressful list of to-dos and fires to put out.

Our behavior is influenced by what we’re first exposed to, which is known as priming in social psychology. This is where the Power Lead (a positive, meaningful start to a conversation or interaction) comes in.

Instead of starting a meeting by jumping straight to the problem or tasks at hand, try instead beginning with a Power Lead to prime your team and get them focused on what’s working.

Let me share with you how one company I worked with was able to use the Power Lead to turn the social script around and actually had employees engaged and excited about meetings. A manager of quality control at a technology company, Charlie, managed 30 employees, and he and his team fixed software bugs. Each meeting they would start right off with all of the fires to put out. Meetings were really stressful and often, Charlie and his team left them feeling anxious and frustrated.

So we put in a plan where Charlie would start off each meeting with a Power Lead-he’d share three gratitudes: one general thing he was grateful for, one about the team and one about a specific team member. This change created an atmosphere of positivity and engagement at the meetings. Problems were still addressed, but so were the wins. The best part? Not only did the team feel more optimistic, but productivity also went up, as the time it took to solve the bugs went down.

You can use the Power Lead at your meetings by starting with:

  • Recognizing a staff member who’s done something great lately. Maybe they stayed late to help their coworker on a project or maybe they asked a great question at the last meeting.
  • Acknowledging a win that the company or team recently had. Did you get a new client or grant? Did you come in under budget and on time on a project? Or what about the fun team after-hours get-together the other week?
  • Share something you’re grateful for. Maybe it’s your amazing coworker, that great webinar the other day, or even the sunrise you saw this morning.
  • Start your meeting with something fun. Tell a joke. Watch a funny video. Have everyone share something good that happened that weekend/recently.

When we lead meetings with positivity, it primes everyone to be engaged and excited. And it’s better for the bottom line. Research shows that a positive brain is 31% more productive, 3x more creative, has 37% higher sales, and 25% greater performance ratings.

Meetings can be fueling, creative and informative or they can be boring and uninspired.

It’s your lead.

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