Let’s talk about meetings. They love sitting in your calendar, don’t they? They come in different variants and decide how your day will go.
You probably just got done with one or are ready to attend one. And the most popular variant is called the ‘status update meeting”.
Most status update meetings can get monotonous due to a mere exchange of facts & figures about progress and sometimes, debates about issues. (yes, it could have been an email, you think!). It isn’t a pleasant experience for your teams to sit through meetings that sound the same week after week.
It’s common to start off meetings with some small talk or some activity. So, what can you as a leader hosting meetings do to make these status meetings enjoyable?
Introduce storytelling in your meetings!
Start off by introducing the habit of storytelling into meetings you host. That way you have more control over it. Set aside a few minutes in the beginning to share a story. This could be about a book you are currently reading, a recent trip, or something unique that happened over the weekend.
Encourage others to share too. Storytelling helps build interaction among people and turn them from passive attendees into active participants.
HAVE A STRUCTURE
Here’s a simple structure to keep your story concise and organised. This helps in keeping the story short and interesting.
Context – The background information to set up the story
Character – This includes who was involved, where it happened, and their objective
Conflict – This is the ups and downs of the story. What obstacle or conflict did the character face?
Resolution – The outcome at the end of the story. This can be a resolution experienced by the character, or a decision to continue fighting the obstacle. This is also when you deliver a subtle lesson (if any) from the story.
A marketing project manager who was part of one of our workshops usually starts her meetings with a story. She began one of her meetings this way:
“Hey everyone! How are you all doing today? I hope you folks had a good weekend. Mine went quite unexpectedly. So, a dog on my street usually takes shelter in my building compound every night. Some people provide food or some water to it.
Over the weekend anytime I went out or came back home, I saw it asleep. Which I thought was normal as it generally sleeps a lot due to its age. But today morning the watchman informed me that the dog had passed away. He told me that it probably died two days ago and everyone thought it was just sleeping.
I felt it was so tragic. That we don’t pay attention to things or people that don’t seem significant but at some point it makes us sit up and notice.
I think the whole incident sent me a message to notice things around me before it’s too late.”
After sharing this story with her teammates, she started seeing them be more open and interactive with her. She attributed that to showing her human side.
TRY IT OUT
Share stories about yourself. Give a glimpse of your activities, hobbies, failures and successes. Be authentic in your storytelling to help connect at a deeper level.
Whether it’s an online or in-person meeting, bringing storytelling into meetings can elevate the “human” element of it.
About The Author
Vinod Krishna is a brand storytelling trainer and consultant at DustyPaths.
He brings 3 decades of experience in leading people, projects, and businesses
to forge new paths in storytelling, communication and leadership development.
He is an avid barefoot runner, trekker, theater artist, and photographer.
Connect with him on LinkedIn