Best Tips for Leading Effective and Needle-Shifting Meetings
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What is a needle-shifting meeting? Needle-shifting meetings refer to meetings that will cause your team to react to the subjects. This could be due to motivational encouragement, exciting approaches to a new project, or other creative ideas. But where do you start and how do you lead an effective needle-shifting meeting?

It turns out, a lot of the needle-shifting occurs when efficiency takes away the parts of a meeting that people dread and prevents the meeting from feeling inapplicable to half the room. So how can you make sure everyone is engaged and jumping on board with the ideas and projects being presented? Read on to learn our top 5 tips for leading effective and needle-shifting meetings!

1. Limit Your Subjects

This sounds obvious, but often a lot of frustration and distraction occurs when a meeting's leader spends too much time talking about topics that would be better saved for an email or message that would take seconds to answer rather than tossing them into a meeting that people want to move through efficiently so they can get back to work.

"I've found that making sure I only bring the necessary topics to a meeting to discuss the essentials. There are some things that are better discussed over email and it provides people with resources to refer to later as well," says Brandon Amoroso, Founder and CEO of electrIQ marketing. "People know you value them when you value their time. Keep that time valuable by sending out little things ahead of a meeting so if there are any major concerns, they can be discussed but otherwise only major issues or topics need to be talked about during the actual meeting."

"I send out things like sign-up sheets for projects or events and minor updates via email or message before a big meeting," says Jeff Meeks, VP of Sales and Marketing for EnergyFit. "That way, if there's a hiccup it can be addressed during the meeting but otherwise it lets me prioritize the big things that we have to be together to discuss."

2. Send An Agenda

An agenda outlines the subject and order that things will be spoken about during a meeting. The more detailed an agenda can be, the more organized the meeting will (theoretically) run. 

"I like to highlight as much as I can in an email before a meeting so everyone comes in the door ready to get down to business and hopefully supply their own ideas on the subjects," says Matt Miller, Founder & CEO of Embroker. "The purpose of meeting together is to make sure everyone is on the same page and has a time to voice their thoughts that might not be carrying well through a virtual platform or intermittent conversations. When a meeting is outlined beforehand, it lets them prepare and anticipate when the most appropriate time to bring something up might be."

"To be an organization that needle-shifts, you all have to be working towards the same goal. One way to make sure everyone can be on the same page is through impactful meetings where missions and visions are highlighted and everyone brings ideas to the table," says Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder & CEO of OSDB. "By sending out an agenda, you let everyone have some time to marinate on the topics and think up their own ideas to any questions that might be put forward for the group."

3. Set Time Constraints

This goes along with the idea above. Within your agenda and meeting plans, you should make sure you're setting time limits on each subject. By doing this, employees know how much you're planning to focus on each subject and it keeps the ball rolling during the meeting itself. 

"Someone made this suggestion and it was a game-changer. When everyone is aware of the timeline of not only the meeting as a whole, but each subject within the meeting, the whole thing moves along so much smoother," says Tyler Read, Founder and Senior Editor for Personal Trainer Pioneer. "It feels ridiculous when you first start doing it because you feel like you're micromanaging the meeting to the extreme - but it really lets you stay more organized and helps keep everyone on track."

"Time limits for each subject during a meeting can be very motivating. It keeps ramblers from taking up too much time and encourages everyone to have their thoughts in order ahead of time," says Ryan Rockefeller, Co-founder and CEO of Cleared. "It also holds us all accountable to stick to the schedule. If you start letting go of the plan, it's really hard to grab a hold of it again so it's important to commit to the timetable."

4. Set Goals

Again, this is something that should be sent out with the outline or agenda for the meeting. Along with time constraints, goals help keep a meeting on-task. When everyone comes in with the same goals in mind, needles can be shifted even further.

"The most effective meetings always have a clear outline of goals," says Schuyler Hoversten Co-Founder and President of Swoopt. "That doesn't mean you have to solve every issue on the table, but you should have specific goals that are attainable set at the beginning of every meeting. That way, the meeting ends on a productive note even if you need to discuss some aspects of the projects further at a later date."

"Goals keep everyone focused at the task at hand and give them a reason to participate and show up with a good mindset," says Ann McFerran CEO of Glamnetic. "Setting goals to challenge your staff is important, but it's also important to make those goals realistic. Being able to do this effectively means that you really need to know your team and what they can accomplish in a specific timeframe."

5. Follow Through

Don't forget to make notes and enforce deadlines that are discussed during a meeting. If there's no follow through, projects or subjects that were just focused on for an extended period of time can fall through the cracks.

"Sending a follow-up email with the minutes or notes from a meeting can make sure everyone recalls the information and it also provides a tangible source of information that they can search for in their inbox," says Chris Vaughn, CEO of Emjay. "There should also be some sort of accountability established during or immediately after the meeting for the decisions that were made so that projects and deadlines are completed."

"Having someone designated to take notes during the meeting helps with the follow up afterwards," says James Shalhoub, Co-founder of Finn. "When you can send detailed information about the meeting afterwards, people can be more engaged during the meeting and take notes on their own thoughts while also knowing they're not going to miss anything major because an after-meeting email will go out covering the big subjects."

Conclusion

There you have it! 5 tips to lead effective and needle-shifting meetings. A lot of this comes down to things that happen before and after the meetings themselves and not during the actual event. Keep these things in mind for your next meeting and try out these tips to see how they work for your team!

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