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Getting more value from meetings

The concept

This concept was proposed by Marshall Goldsmith in his book Triggers: Sparking positive change and making it last.  It is based on the premise that staff in a workplace have a personal responsibility for their own engagement.  It is not just a leadership responsibility to drive workplace engagement. 

In a meeting, workshop or training session individuals can ask themselves this series of ‘active questions’ that get them to take some personal responsibility for getting value from the experience.  These questions, posed at the commencement of a session, but with a clear intent to reflect upon them at the end of a meeting, encourage people to think positively about how they might participate in the session. So, as opposed to being passive participants, people are more likely to make an effort during the session so that they can respond ‘yes’ to these questions at the end of the session.

Why it’s useful

It can be frustrating for leaders or meeting facilitators to bear full responsibility for a successful meeting when they know success is equally dependent on what mindset people bring into the room.  This quick and simple technique can really assist in creating a positive meeting environment.

How/when to apply it

In the welcome and introduction to a meeting or workshop, leaders simply pose the following (usually written on a flipchart):

If you were going to be asked at the end of the session these 4 questions how might you choose to participate:  Did I do my best to:

  • Be happy?
  • Find meaning?
  • Fully engaged?
  • Build positive relationships?

Write down some actions or behaviours you plan to undertake during the session.

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