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Most men don’t like attending meetings, but we recognize that they are often necessary to get things done. Do men dread the thought of attending or skip your meetings? It may be due to the way you run your meetings. Here are a few tips I’ve learn from leading church and corporate meetings to make your meetings more tolerable and more effective:

Determine if you really need a meeting

This may seem like a “no brainer”, but people often schedule meetings to discuss things that could have been resolved via a conference call or an email. Reconsider your meeting if no votes are required and if it can be handled with a 10 minute phone conversation.

Invite the right people

Men’s groups typically try to involve all men in all activities, including meetings. Most men just want to be “good soldiers” and want to know “what do you need me to do?” Meetings are torture for “soldiers.” Give them a break and only involve the necessary people, like officers, committee chairs or men that enjoy providing input in planning sessions. You can simply email or call a very short meeting to give the soldiers their marching orders later. They will thank you!

Create an agenda and share it

The most ineffective meetings are meetings without a formal agenda. They are usually not organized and leave people wondering “why am I here?” A good agenda gives people confidence that you planned ahead and put some thought into the meeting. Sharing your agenda ahead of time can also increase your attendance. More people will want to come when they know you will deal with topics they are interested. People that cannot make it may even provide you with valuable input ahead of time.

Bring suggestions for action items

One of the worst things you can do in a meeting is ask men “what do you want to do?” You will either hear “crickets” or half-baked ideas that no one really likes. Great leaders come prepared with a few suggestions and allow the men to pick. This usually saves time and leads to better results. The men are still free to provide their own ideas, but most simply want to hear your thoughts and move on.

Schedule at the right time

Most church groups love to have their meetings on Sunday after church because everyone is there and you do not have to worry about coming back on another day. This can work for quick communication-only meetings or emergency meetings, but this is the worst time to schedule a planning meeting. People are not focused because they are hungry and want to get to brunch or catch a football game. Bad ideas are pitched when people are in a rush and just want to get the meeting over with. Good planning meetings often take 60 to 90 minutes. Schedule the meeting on a day and time when people are not in a rush. You should also consider hosting the meeting at a location that is central to everyone, if your church is not centrally located. Go to a public library, coffee shop or restaurant.

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