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Staff meetings should not be a time of dread for your team. Rather, attempt to create a positive meeting that both informs staff and makes them feel part of a team. Starting your staff meeting on a positive note can set the tone for the entire meeting. This is especially important if you have bad news to deliver or are using meeting time outside of the employees' normal business hours. Using several techniques to open your staff meeting positively will enhance the morale of your team.
Smile and thank your staff for attending the meeting. Keeping a smile on your face will help brighten the atmosphere and delivery of your information. Even those attending via conference call can “hear” the smile in your voice. Walking in with a blank expression, frown or scowl will not help your staff feel good about having you as their leader.
Bring food to the meeting. As simple as it sounds, people do respond to food and small treats. You may want to bake cookies, bring in bagels for a breakfast meeting or buy lunch for your staff if you’re holding the staff meeting at lunch time. Your team will appreciate the gesture, and it gives the opportunity to move around before getting started.
Plan an icebreaker activity. Icebreakers are often used in training classes and other meetings to lighten the mood and make people comfortable. These activities can be as basic as asking everyone to name something unique about herself that her co-workers would not suspect.
Relay positive news about your company and how it affects your department. Start the meeting with one key piece of information that is relevant to your team. If your company is performing well, share the statistics with your staff. Provide information about new clients, hirings, promotions and other exciting items before delving into news that is negative or difficult to communicate.
Acknowledge a job well done and single out those employees with exemplary performance. Highlight why these employees deserve recognition and set the model for the department. Employees appreciate public praise. This feeling will continue past the staff meeting and encourage others to work for acknowledgement at the next staff meeting.
Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.