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{creating} settle-in-time

it's a super busy meeting week for me -- so, i'm re-posting a few of my favorite posts about how to lead great meetings. of course, you know, i'm a NERD for smoothly run, on time, productive, creative, efficient meetings. but, don't hold that against me---i'm cool, too. happy monday! 


everyone needs some good ole' settling-in-time. before a meeting, before volunteering, before getting down to business, they need some time to get settled and to feel ready to participate. 

here's what i've noticed -- people walk into most meetings and need a good five minutes to get settled. they take their coats off, look for the perfect seat, search for a pen, and then{!} when i think they're finally settled and ready to start the meeting, they turn to the person next to them and say -- how was your weekend?! really. did you see "chat about weekend" on my beautiful agenda?

maybe this is obvious already -- but, allowing for settle-in-time does not come naturally to me. when i arrive at a meeting, i'm ready to go. ready to work. we can chat later. but, that's when i'm the leader. because i've already had my settling-in-time. i came early to the meeting, i put my coat away, i found my pen, printed the agendas, and mentally prepared for the meeting before i arrived. 

leaders settle in pre-meeting. participants settle in at the begining of the meeting. 

today: a few things i'm intentionally trying so that participants feel settled and ready to engage in meetings, and so that i feel less frustrated at the beginning of meetings.

build in the time. i'm creating agendas that allow a good five minutes for settling in. i'm not adding a new agenda line, but i'm mindful that the first agenda item also needs to account for settling-in-time so that folks can engage as the meeting starts. 

don't get panicky. let the settling-in-time settle. i notice that when folks are chatting, and looking for just the right seat, and not getting to the work of the meeting quickly enough, i start to feel panicky. i'm nervous we'll run out of time and won't get to everything we need to discuss. i try to tell myself -- this is good! this is the work of the meeting! people chatting, connecting, all good! 

move the meeting along. once it's time, move the meeting to the next topic. settling-in-time can easily turn into a thirty minute free for all, where everyone chats about everything. NOT GOOD. allow for settling, then move the meeting along. if someone does need to chat further, make a note and mention that you'll follow up post meeting. 

oh! oh! also! when it's time to move along, don't say -- let's get this meeting started. i'm so guilty of this! i do this every stinkin' freakin' meeting. settling-in-time is part of the meeting, it's part of the good work that's needed for everyone to fully engage. don't discredit that by implying that the real work of the meeting begins after this time. 

{creating} settle-in-time in order to lead effective, productive meetings. additional tips? 

oh! and, in case you're new to the blog. it's a little passion of mine to lead great meetings. i've previously written additional meeting related posts here. enjoy! 

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