Almost every Monday morning I attend a very special meeting just a few miles from my house. In that meeting I am stretched, I am challenged, I grow.
Some days, when I wake up for the meeting, it’s a hassle to get up early in order to be there and alert at 7:00 am. But when I’m in town, I make the effort. Call me crazy, but I actually pay to go there on Monday mornings. I don’t pay much, but I do pay to go and every time without fail, after I attend the meeting, I am in a better, more optimistic, more ready to make that week a great week place. I go to Brownsburg Toastmasters on Monday mornings.
Take this past Monday for example. I learned about two brothers, hoarders, recluses who were buried alive in their own hoarded garbage in the confines of their own home. The brothers were the Collyer brothers from Manhattan, New York. My new friend and fellow Brownsburg Toastmasters member, Jeremy Bard, in his 5 to 7 minute talk shared the fascinating story of the Collyer Brothers.
Jeremy told us that the Collyer brothers had actually dug tunnels though their hoarded garbage which was piled from floor to ceiling so they could navigate through their Harlem brownstone at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 128th Street. Then Jeremy said something that hit me like a ton of bricks, he said, “…they were literally buried alive by their own garbage.” The reason Jeremy’s statement made an impact on me is because I am preparing to share an eight week journey through Napoleon Hill’s classic, Think and Grow Rich. Jeremy’s statement, I realized many of us are “buried alive by our own garbage.” That metaphor fits perfectly with the very reason to learn from the classic Think and Grow Rich.
Let me explain by sharing the words of Henry David Thoreau from his work; Life in the Woods, where he said:
…if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
You see, it’s that “advances confidently,” piece that hangs most of us up. We’re buried in our own garbage of doubt, negative thinking and drama. Yes, some of us haven’t set our dreams or goals that we may have imagined to be able to walk in the correct direction. We’re walkin alright, but to what? Where?
So what’s so important about meetings? Is it necessary to gather up people, stick them in a room, and talk at their faces for an hour? Are people actually paying attention? I can promise you that not every meeting that goes on is productive. Robby Slaughter can help you if you’re looking for tips on scheduling meetings and escaping them alive.
At the meeting
A technique that is surprisingly effective is to ask everyone to stand for the course of the meeting. You don’t have to be the organizer, just suggest that standing is healthier and it helps the conversation be more active—both of which are true. Also, standing meetings tend to finish more quickly.
Another effective way to keep meetings moving along is to apologize. That’s right: say you’re sorry that you’re not keeping up. “Is there any way we can get this in a written form so we can review it more detail on our own time?” It works; try it!
Finally, you can make meetings better by asking to start the meeting by writing an agenda. That way everyone is more likely to keep on task and you can refer back to it later.