Want to lead more effective meetings?
Try flipping one!

Last weekend, I presented a session at NC State’s SpeedCon.  During this session I introduced participants to the concept of flipping a meeting.  The participants were energetic, enthusiastic, and open to new ideas, and I enjoyed the opportunity to connect with this group.

Since we had such a great conversation, I thought I’d share the information from the session as a follow up to the recent blog posts about flipping meetings.  As you think about flipping your own meetings, here are a few things to think about to help you get started.

You can take your meetings to the next level.

Most meetings are structured around the person doing the talking.  The energy and focus are directed towards the person at the front of the room.  In this type of environment, the leader probably starts planning the meeting by asking the question, “What am I going to talk about?”

But in a flipped environment, this structure is reversed. The participants are the focus.  In this type of environment, the leader starts planning the meeting by asking the question, “What do the participants need to do?” This fundamental shift in the question changes the whole dynamic of the meeting environment.

What is the flip?
As I’ve discussed in previous blog posts, the flip occurs when you switch from presenter-centered design to participant-centered design.  You move from being the “sage on the stage” to being a “guide on the side.”  You stop talking at your participants and you begin talking with them.

Why should you flip a meeting?
•  Generate the best ideas to solve problems & create new strategies.
•  Build capacity for leadership at all levels throughout the organization.
•  Promote sharing of ideas and resources.
•  Delegate with trust and confidence.
•  Increase morale.
•  Retain talented employees.
•  Create a shared vision for the organization.
•  Foster collaboration and shared ownership of decisions and tasks.
•  Encourage investment in the success of the organization.
•  Maximize efficiency and save time.

So, how do you flip a meeting?
There are many new skills to learn when you think about flipping a meeting, but here a few quick idea to help you start thinking about how you can engage your participants.

•  First, determine if you really need a meeting!
•  If so, then what is the purpose of the meeting?  What is your goal? The more specific, the better.
•  Instead of talking about the goal during the meeting, design the meeting so participants actually do it.  Ask yourself:  What do the participants need to do to achieve the goal?  What’s the task?

Plan the task.  Complete this sentence:   During the meeting, participants will ___________________.
Complete the sentence using these criteria:
•    Use action verbs.
•    Make sure the task is specific and measurable.
•    Can your participants show the task to you?  If not, re-work it.

Here are few examples of outcomes for the flip. Notice how these are tasks use action verbs, are specific, and can be shown to you or someone else after the meeting.

Participants will create a plan to reduce marketing costs by 10%.
Participants will design a new assessment strategy for the program.
Participants will develop an outline for the team’s research proposal.
Participants will plan the awards ceremony and delegate responsibilities.

•    If possible, send the goal and the task to your participants before the meeting.
•    Find topics that can benefit from collaborative thinking, sharing, and problem solving.
•    If you’re new to flipping a meeting, remember that you must allow yourself to be open to this new format.  Allow yourself to listen, not talk…to observe, not judge.
•    Give your participants the encouragement, structure, and support to complete the task and achieve the goal.  A flipped meeting is a new type of environment with new rules, so you’ll need to build your participants’ trust by creating a meeting space that allows for equal contributions and support.


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