Have you noticed a drop in meeting engagement since the pandemic began? Participation can often feel optional when a computer screen creates a divide between team members during virtual meetings. It’s hard to share energy and keep staff engaged when they are not sitting side-by-side. We must not overlook the value our input can provide, though.

ServiceMaster by Stratos has not been immune to the difficulties presented by a lack of meeting participation. Fruitful discussions can seem few and far between when we are busy and need meetings to be as brief and efficient as possible. One way our team has created more intentional time together is through the use of inspirational quotes.

Our management team is required to bring a quote to the weekly managers’ meeting. This can’t just be any quote, though. Attendees must choose a quote that resonates with them. Each person reads their quote aloud and is ready to explain why they chose it. Thought-provoking questions are often posed, which results in meaningful group discussion.

This strategy has not gone off without its hitches, though. Stratos CEO Stacy McCall was once faced with a challenge when a team member was never prepared to take part in the exercise. After a few weeks, Stacy gave an ultimatum – bring a quote to the next gathering or be relieved of your position at Stratos. When the time came for the staff member to share his quote, Stacy saw the other managers in the room were prepared to come to the person’s aid. Sticky notes were being passed under the table. Everyone had brought a second quote for their coworker to use so history wasn’t made. The non-participatory team member was ready to share a quote, so the under-the-table quote donations weren’t needed, but it was so very encouraging to see how the team had his back. They knew how serious Stacy was when she posed the ultimatum. Meeting engagement is just that important. 

As more organizations resume in-person work, the days of using a computer screen as a crutch are over. Meeting participation is critical, as it is a direct correlation to the health of the organization’s company culture. How can you enhance the engagement of your meetings? Try new exercises during your in-person interactions this month. We’re confident you will appreciate the camaraderie and open dialogue that comes as a result.

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