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6 Item Checklist for Running Impressive Meetings

6 Item Checklist for Running Impressive Meetings

In 2006, I was elected President of the spanish chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, a volunteer-led organisation for successful entrepreneurs. Honestly, I was a mix of emotion: both proud of the honour; but nervous that I would not be capable of leading the group.

Our first board meeting was chaos. There was a paper agenda, but I failed to keep people focussed on the agreed discussions. Each board member would throw their own opinion in for every small point. We spent almost 4 hours sucked into petty administrative details. It was tiring.

I learnt over the next 3 months that my way of running meetings was not effective. It was not only that we were not agreeing and taking decisions, we each left the meeting less motivated than when it began. This was a volunteer board.  If I had been one of the board members back then, I would have skipped as many meetings as I could.

“That’s it, I don’t need this crap. I am going to Quit”

I was on the verge of resigning the presidency, and of resigning as a member due to my frustration. I said to myself “I am paying for this, I am frustrated and members are blaming me for every little thing that doesn’t work out”.

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I attended a training session for new chapter presidents run by a wonderful Canadian entrepreneur. She began the training “There are two types of people in this room: the first have had a mission to become chapter president for years, have conducted a campaign with a clear manifesto, bring a team and are now celebrating the achievement of a multi-year goal; the second…  went to the bathroom at the wrong moment and came back to find that they had been nominated for president…  and still feel that they didn’t really ask to be in the role.”

She paused while we laughed “I don’t care which is your path. But you have a clear choice to make… You can spend the next year saying that you didn’t really choose this; or you can decide to make the role your own. This training is for those who chose to make the role their own.”

She got me. I knew that I was the “bathroom-at-the-wrong-moment” president, not the multi-year campaign. I knew I was waiting for others to step up and make things fun. I knew that I had abdicated any real responsibility for the role to others. I made a decision in that moment to go for it. I decided I had nothing to lose. I had mentally decided to leave the organisation, resign my role – so there was no “risk” to me if I decided to make things run “my way”.

Over the next 2 years, I learnt how to run meetings that get volunteers engaged, proud, active and delivering big results. What works for volunteers also works for corporates, universities and professional associations.

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The Golden Rule of Leading Anything

It is always the leader’s responsibility. If you lead a meeting and it is not fun, it is your responsibility to act. If somebody comes unprepared, it is your responsibility to act.  It does not matter whether you wanted to be the leader or did not want to be the leader; it does not matter whether the others are older, richer, wiser, better looking, sexier or taller: your role comes with full responsibility.

If you don’t accept the Golden Rule, go play tetris or candy crush. Don’t bother with the rest of this blog post.

The 6 Item Participant Checklist for Impressive Meetings

1. Participants Felt Heard

My girlfriend is brilliant at this. I can come home and rant about something stupid that happened at work. She listens. She listens without adding her judgement. Often, my rants are idiotic. (I think she knows…  She doesn’t say.) She isn’t aiming to fix me. She accepts that I am saying that I am frustrated, that something unexpected happened. After about 2 minutes of feeling heard, I realise that I am ranting and I let it go.

2. Participants Leave Energised

An hour of talking about problems is not an engaging hour. What inspires us? Big dreams. Great locations. People’s life stories. Progress. Celebrating small wins. Recognition of good efforts. A big bureaucracy trades in problems. A volunteer organisation trades in the gift of people’s time.

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3. Participants Leave with New Perspectives

John D. Rockerfeller, the richest man in the world back in the 1850s, was famous for his ability to look like he was almost asleep in a meeting… and then suddenly sit forward and ask a question that changed the whole dynamic of the discussion. A meeting leader is not the one with the best answers, a leader is the one with the best questions.

4. Participants are Proud to be Part of the Team

What teams are you proud to be part of? Teams that stand for something. I am proud to be a member of Barcelona Football Club. I love the values of teamwork that I see displayed on the field. I am proud to be part of Entrepreneurs’ Organisation because I am encouraged to dream bigger, to contribute more deeply. I am proud to be part of teams that are encouraging individual members to be the best version of themselves.

5. Participants Have Access to Necessary Resources

I had an interview back in 2005 with Sequoia Capital for a role leading the European division of a global insurance claims processing company. The founder explained their golden rule: if somebody fails to achieve a goal, we place 90% of the blame with their boss. There are only 3 reasons why somebody fails to achieve a goal:  1. they were not clear on the goal (bosses fault) 2. they didn’t have access to the resources necessary (boss fault) and 3. they were not motivated (50% their fault, 50% boss fault).

6. Participants Have Desire to Deliver on Specific Actions

Two parts to this one: desire and specific. Nothing is a greater waste than giving a vague action to a person who sees no purpose to the action. As a leader, you must work to help people see how they personally and professionally can benefit from the action. As a leader, you must work to ensure that the individual understands exactly what success will look like and how they can take the steps necessary.

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The Choice you Must Make, The Golden Rule

Whether you became leader by deliberate action or by accident; whether you conducted a multi-year campaign or left for the bathroom at the crucial moment – you have a choice: wait for a magically sign from the sky or take responsibility now to change things that you do not love. The Golden Rule: If you don’t like it, remove it, change it or step down as leader.

Featured photo credit: Stéfan via flickr.com

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Conor Neill

Professor of Leadership, President Vistage Spain

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

40 Ways to Achieve Peace Of Mind and Inner Calm

40 Ways to Achieve Peace Of Mind and Inner Calm

Do you have racing thoughts and find yourself constantly worrying? An anxious mind is truly distressing.

The good news is, there’re simple things you can do to calm your thought.

If you want to achieve peace of mind and inner calm, try these 40 simple powerful ways:

1. Listen to Music

Studies have found that relaxing music can help kids with ADHD to be calmer and focus. But it doesn’t matter what genre of music you want to listen to, as long as you enjoy it and it makes you feel relaxed.

Music is food for the soul and an instant way to gain peace of mind.

2. Deep Breathing

When you focus on your breathing, your mind’s attention is drawn to the life-enhancing process of drawing in air and exhaling.

Take five long, deep breaths and focus on your lungs and diaphragm as you do this. This is a quick and easy way to instantly feel calm.

Here’re also 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly).

3. Go for a Walk

Getting out in the fresh air can do you a world of good and promote peace of mind. Take a break and get the blood pumping – especially when the sun is shining.

4. Enjoy Nature

Too much concrete is never a good thing. Spending time in nature can actually make you feel younger, happier. Here’s why.

Spend time away from the city. Listen to the birds singing and enjoy the peace and tranquility.

5. Play with a Pet

Having a pet to play with is a great way to de-stress. Touch is a powerful sense and can ease tension and promote peace of mind.

6. Declutter

Have regular clear-outs. Clutter can add to feelings of tension and a clean, clear home allows a clearer, more peaceful mind.

Take a look at this article and learn How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster.

7. Acceptance

Acceptance is crucial for peace of mind. Accepting that there are few guarantees in the world and learning to tolerate uncertainty is a huge leap in the peace-of-mind stakes. Differentiate between what you can and cannot control.

8. Mindfulness

When we are mindful, we are fully present in the moment and acutely aware of our five senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell.

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Engage your senses. This leaves less time for your mind to worry and think about “what ifs.”

Here you can learn about The Power of Mindfulness.

9. Self Love

The more we like ourselves, the greater our peace of mind. We accept ourselves more and feel at ease in the world, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. We experience less insecurity and as a result, our inner peace is heightened.

Start trying these 30 Ways To Practice Self-Love And Be Good To Yourself.

10. Be True to You

This is another vital component of peace of mind. When we practice congruency, we behave similarly to the way we feel and think. When the way we see ourselves and the way the world sees us is the same, we are practicing congruency.

Problems arise when we see ourselves one way (for example, as a loving mother) but behave in ways that are at odds with how we would like to see ourselves (for example, neglect our children because we are too busy). Finding ways to keep our inner ideals and the way we behave similar is one of the keys to peace of mind.

Find out How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want.

11. Sense of Humor

Laugh a lot. The world is instantly a better place when you can see the funny side of life. Laughter is a great antidote for stress and releases hormones that help us relax.

12. Love Unconditionally

When you don’t expect anything back, it makes it easier to love without fear. When we love with conditions attached, our unmet expectations can create inner turmoil and feelings of resentment. Insecurities destroy peace of mind.

13. Go for Regular Health Checks

It pays to keep checks on your health and look after yourself. Letting ourselves go can indicate a lack of self-respect, and this in turn will affect the way we see the world and the way others interact with us. Be kind to yourself and make the most of what you have.

14. Take Stock

Every now and then, it’s a good idea to check whether you’re happy with the quality of your life. Do you like your job? Your relationship? Are you on the right track? Make adjustments if necessary to restore peace of mind.

15. Have Goals

This ties in with number 14. Goals keep us going in the right direction and give us a sense of purpose. Make your goals SMART: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

16. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

This relates to number 11. Learn to be more flexible in your approach to life. The more rigid our thinking is, the easier it is to experience situations that contradict our rigid ideas.

17. Live in the Moment

Instead of worrying about the past or panicking about the future, really enjoy the NOW. It’s all we have — this moment in time.

When we live in the present, the concerns of the past and future can’t worry us.

Here’re some tips on How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future.

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18. Worry Less

We apparently have somewhere between 30,000 – 75,000 thoughts per day, of which 80% are random “nonsense.”

Learn to “shelve” worrying by reminding yourself that most of your worries are unproductive and remove any chance of peace of mind.

Some advice for you who worry often: How to Worry Less: 90% of What You Fear Won’t Happen

19. Be Assertive

You have as much right to be here and to have an opinion as anyone else. When we become passive or submissive, we do ourselves a disservice.

Being assertive isn’t about your needs ahead of others (aggressive) or their needs ahead of yours (passive). Rather, it is about compromise —  a “win-win” situation.

Learn How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way.

20. Speak Your Mind

Don’t be afraid to say what you’re thinking. This goes hand in hand with being assertive.

Ask for what you want in life. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

21. Enjoy “Me-Time”

Time out is important. A little bit of selfish time to treat yourself or do exactly as you please sets you up for taking on the constant demands of life. Balance in life is crucial.

22. Frolic

The free online dictionary describes the word “frolic” as:

“To behave playfully and uninhibitedly; romp.”

All work and no play will stress anyone out. Make time for things you enjoy. Try to inject fun into situations that aren’t particularly enjoyable. Approach life with a playful attitude. When did you last let the child in you come out to play?

23. Let It Go

There are some things that you just cannot change, no matter how hard you try. Know when to cut your losses and detach (Just like Elsa does!)

When you start to let go of your past, these 10 things will happen.

24. Resist Guilt

Guilt is a negative emotion that removes peace of mind. Although it can motivate us (in the wrong way), it is still a toxic emotion.

Challenge the reasons for your guilt to make sure you aren’t placing unnecessary pressure on yourself.

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25. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

Focusing on all the things in our lives that we are grateful for promotes peace of mind and reminds us that there are always positives. Sometimes we just have to nudge our awareness.

Try these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

26. See Failure as a Learning Curve

Failure has such negative connotations, but actually, everyone fails. How can you improve or learn anything if you never fail?

A healthy attitude towards failure encourages bravery. It’s not you that is the failure, instead it is what you tried that failed. There is a big difference.

27. Connect with Others

One of the true joys of life is sharing life with others and knowing that others “get” you. We feel less alone and feeling understood allows a fantastic sense of well-being.

28. Test Your Limits

You’ll never know your true potential if you always stay in your comfort zone. As the old saying goes, it is better to look back and regret what you did than regret all those things you wish you’d tried.

Learn to step out of your comfort zone: 10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear

29. Find Positive Outlets for Negative Emotions

Sports, online forums, like-minded people, hobbies…whatever takes your fancy. Suppressing negative emotions can lead to ill health. Release tension and frustration in a pro social way and feel a whole lot happier.

30. Slow Down

Why does everything need to be accomplished today? Often, we place unrealistic pressure on ourselves when there is no need to.

Challenge your impatience, be mindful and enjoy life in the moment.

31. Challenge Your “Shoulds” and “Musts”

Self-induced pressure never leads to inner tranquility or peace of mind. Replace “should” with “could” and live life more on your own terms.

32. Be Kind

It’s free and it makes a difference. When we show kindness, it gives us an inner boost, too.

You can try these 29 Ways to Carry Out Random Acts of Kindness Every Day.

33. Don’t Compare

The more we compare, the more we lose ourselves.

Forget what everyone else is doing or saying. What do YOU want? We all have our own paths to follow, and we are all learning and going through life at our unique pace.

Focus on your own journey and lose the stress of comparing yourself to what you think is going on in the lives of others. This is a surefire way to eliminate peace of mind.

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34. Affirmations

Talk to yourself positively by using affirmations. A good example of one that encourages peace of mind is: “No matter what comes my way, I will find a way to get through it.”

Believe in yourself and remind yourself regularly that you will be okay.

Need some more inspirations to affirm yourself? Here’re 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.

35. Save a Little Money as Often as You Can

Putting money aside is always a good idea. If you can afford to save money regularly, do it. Start up a regular debit each month, and you won’t even realize it’s gone.

36. Less Is More

Money buys choice, but it doesn’t buy us the happiness we crave. Be content with the simpler things in life — that’s where the real long-lasting joy and peace of mind comes from.

37. Perspective

Always  keep your eye on the bigger picture. Will you feel this way next week, or a year from now? Will your current experience of life seem as important?

More often than not, you will be just fine. Foster peace of mind by maintaining perspective in life.

38. Monitor Your Thoughts

Our thoughts can make or break our quality of life. Make sure to choose thinking that works for you.

Talk to yourself as you would a best friend. Self-loathing serves no purpose and will undoubtedly extract joy from your life.

39. Stand up for What You Believe In

Whether it’s protecting animals or helping those less fortunate than yourself, follow your heart and your passion. Fight the urge to fit in and do what’s expected.

When you change yourself to suit others, you give away your peace of mind.

40. Get Enough Sleep

When we’re tired and grumpy, nothing goes smoothly. Get eight hours of sleep per night and regenerate your body.

Final Thoughts

The most important ways to achieve peace of mind involve being true to yourself, accepting that life is uncertain and watching your thinking. Many of us mentally “torture” ourselves daily with the things we tell ourselves.

Trust your thoughts less, pay less attention to the negative ones and focus on what you are thankful for in life, and you’ll be well on your way to inner peace of mind.

Featured photo credit: sean Kong via unsplash.com

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