5 Tips to Engage Employees in Meetings

unengaged employees in a boring company meetingWhen a leadership team embarks on the journey to implement EOS® in their business, one of the first things they learn to do is run weekly Level 10 Meetings™. While some teams resist, most come to love them quite quickly. It’s not unusual for a team to see the quality and value of their meetings improve dramatically in a few short weeks.

After the leadership team masters this discipline, Level 10 Meetings are introduced throughout the company, one level at a time. That’s when I start getting one of the most common EOS questions:

“How can I make my people more engaged in our meetings?”

When I ask them to be more specific, many leaders and managers describe a common phenomenon – their people barely talk in their departmental Level 10 Meetings. The manager

  • Brings most of the Headlines and Issues
  • Does all of the prioritization
  • Has trouble involving everyone in IDS
  • Walks away with most of the To Dos

Rather than getting on the field and playing the game of meeting, employees are sitting in the stands, watching.

If that sounds familiar, the first thing you should do is make sure you’re running a pure Level 10 Meeting. Here are five other tips that will make it easier for your people to lean into these meetings.

5 Ways to Boost Employee Engagement in Meetings

  1. Be human, and ask for your team’s help. Make it clear that this meeting isn’t for you – it’s for them. Clearly define your expectations for preparation and participation. Acknowledge that you’re learning something new, and invite candid feedback about whether or not you’re very good at running the meeting. If you’re not – work hard at improving and be willing to step aside in favor of someone else on your team who may be better.
  2. Redirect issues-solving to the Level 10. Bringing an issue into a meeting with your peers can be scary. Unless it’s a sensitive or urgent Issue, consider asking employees to bring the Issue to your next Level 10 Meeting rather than working through it with you alone. It’s far more efficient to have the whole team present when a tough question is answered or a problem is solved.
  3. Be comfortable with silence. If you’ve asked your folks to participate multiple times in their meeting and they just won’t, call their bluff. When you ask for Headlines or Issues or their opinions during IDS, resist the temptation to fill the silence with your own voice. The seconds ticking away will feel like hours, but after a long period of very awkward silence you can make a strong point that this isn’t your meeting, it’s theirs.
  4. Refuse to accept non-participation. It’s often too easy for people to check out during meetings. It simply isn’t okay for people to skip Good News during the Segue, or to not bring Headlines and Issues to the meeting, or to not speak up during IDS. When facilitating your L10, make that’s clear and don’t accept “no” or “pass” as an acceptable answer.
  5. Be patient. Remember, you and your team are learning something new, which is never easy. It may take several months to get everyone to the point where they’re fully preparing for the meeting, participating consistently, actively engaged in solving issues, and comfortable walking away with one or more To Dos each week.

If your meetings truly aren’t very good, you’re absolutely not alone. These five tips will make these meetings the most valuable part of a week for everyone on your team – including you.

Want more tools for leading valuable meetings? Download our ebook, How to Lead World-Class Meetings.

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