I think that I have attend over a thousand meetings in my life! I have meetings at work. I have meetings at the synagogue. I have meetings at home. That’s right – in the home so that we can coordinate calendars. We have had meetings related to our parents, kids and dogs. And there is one thing that generally holds true – the person that is running the meeting (yes, could be swapped out for controlling the meeting) has the ability to set the tone, or attitude, of the meeting.
I can see your expression from here, “What the heck is Wayne talking about now?”
Attitude matters! For the person that sits at the head of the table (both figuratively and physically) dictates the atmosphere. I remember, while interviewing for a job at a consulting firm many years ago, I had to meet with one of the practice areas managers. He was an extreme introvert whose presence sucked the life out of the room – nice guy, but he was difficult to talk with (as per his nature). The tone of the room reflected his personality. Similarly, I once saw Andy Andrews speak; he got on stage and did not stand still – the audience could feel his energy and his positive attitude was infectious. One of his secrets – always look at who you are talking to and smile while talking.
The truth is, we have “meetings” all of time. By being upbeat and opting for a positive attitude can help the dynamics of the meeting; cheer on the successes and help to identify the challenges. As leaders, it is up to us to head towards success, provide the support and inspiration, and remember to thank the people involved. As a participant, it is up to us to have an open mind, a positive perspective and provide the best output possible. OK, I know not all meetings revolve around success – so use the times of falling short to discuss lessons learned and taking the steps to provide better outcomes in the future. In the end, the tone of the meeting is set by the leader; keep it friendly, keep it productive and keep it upbeat.