I commonly walk into meetings thinking about all kinds of topics that aren’t the real focus of the meeting—my last meeting, the nagging to-do I have to complete, my overflowing email inbox, my promise to my family to pick up dinner on the way home from work, etc.
These types of thoughts and concerns aren’t unique to me. We’ve all come into meetings with our brains spinning on other commitments or expectations instead of the meeting objective.
Why Meeting Segues?
Last year, I was introduced to the concept of meeting segues when I read Geno Wickman’s book Traction.
A meeting segue is a simple and refreshing way to recognize and address the reality that people are coming into meetings with other things on their minds. Specifically, meeting segues are any form of sharing in five minutes or less that are used to refocus our brains at the start of a meeting.
I’ve enjoyed integrating meeting segues into my meetings over the last year. I have also experimented with a lot of different types of segues.
My Top Five Meeting Segues
My favorite meeting segues are based around questions that everyone in the group answers or actions that are easy to achieve and positive in nature. The goal is to help people zoom out, feel positive, strengthen their connection to each other, and become mentally prepared for the meeting.
5. Candy comparison
This segue is extremely lightweight and good to use with a big group. It requires little thinking, but I’ve found it to be effective in creating a positive atmosphere.
I’ve used lots of permutations with good success. Some include:
- Are you a salt lover or sweet lover?
- What’s your favorite flavor of Jolly Rancher?
- M&Ms or Skittles?
4. Near-term excitement
What is something that you’re looking forward to in the next week?
This segue is a little more complex than the last, and it’s best used with a smaller group (five or less). It focuses on getting to know everyone a little more. It’ll likely touch on personal items that help build connection.
3. Company values
Who is someone that you’ve noticed living one of our values recently?
This segue is great to do with your internal team. It’s an opportunity to recognize another person in the meeting or someone that isn’t even present.
The segue does a nice job of reminding people of our company values and reinforcing positive team feelings. It can be easy to focus on problems, but I’ve found it good to explicitly create opportunities to discuss the great things that our team does. This helps improve everyone’s mood and outlook and starts the meeting in a positive way.
Tell us one thing that you appreciate about someone else in this meeting.
This segue is a wonderful way to get everyone in the room feeling good about each other. I’ve only used it with internal teams, but I suspect it’d also work well with clients or other external folks.
Let’s all take one minute of timed silence before we start this meeting to clear our heads and mentally prepare for the meeting at hand.
I’ve had great success with this segue. It’s incredibly easy and wonderfully calming. People have informed me that they’ve enjoyed the previous set of segues. People have told me that they “appreciated” this segue. I take that response as much higher praise.
I suspect that in our busy lives, even a small, silent timeout for your own mental transition is incredibly valuable.
Segues have been a great addition to our meetings. Please share other valuable segues that you’ve tried in the comments below.