Successful meetings don’t just happen. You have to plan, think strategically, and cultivate the concentration of red-tailed hawks, which everyone knows concentrate better than say, pelicans or hummingbirds.
First of all, you must eliminate distractions: Here’s an example of how we do it in our pastors’ meetings:
Bob: Hey Stephen, where’d you get them shoes?
Stephen: You like ‘em? I think they have kind of a Civil War look.
Bob: More of a North Pole look. And your toes look so long.
Stephen: Go online and look up what Civil War guys wore. Welcome to the world of fashion. Of course you wouldn’t wear these when you hang out at the CoGo in Bolivar.
Bob: Little too much point for a man don’t you think? You’re going to have foot issues.
Stephen: I’ll be having foot issues when I kick you in the face.
Notice that we immediately dealt with the distraction of one of our pastors’ shoes. Now we are free to concentrate on the meeting. We begin with a quick team-building exercise:
Me: Bob, can you read us what we were supposed to do since last meeting?
Bob: Sure. Let’s see, (eyes scanning his notes) Stephen,….you…were….supposed….
Stephen: Why are you talking like a robot? (Mechanical voice) I-AM-A-ROBOT. I-HAVE-NO-SOUL.
Bob: I’m not talking like a robot!
Joe: You did kind of have a robotic tone to your voice. And remember, you don’t think you have a Western PA accent either.
Bob: I ain’t got no Western PA accent n’at! What’s wrong with yuns?
Me: Bob, say this: The steel mill has many colorful pools.
Bob: The still meel has many kellerful poles.
All of us: (Howling with laughter).
Bob: What? I said exactly what you said!
After team building, we review previous action items to see if everyone did what they were supposed to since the last meeting:
Me: Stephen, what are you doing? Are you sending tweets?
Stephen: Hey the meeting hasn’t started yet.
Me: Well why don’t you just Tweet me when you’re good and ready.
Me: Ok boys, let’s get down to business. Stephen, you were supposed to call Kittrell about speaking this summer.
Stephen: Kittrell? What? Has he no first name? HEY! GET KITTRELL ON THE PHONE! SOMEBODY CALL KITTRELL! KIIIIIIIITRELLLLLLLLLL!
Me: Only time in history I don’t say his first name….
Stephen: HEY KITTRELL, CAN YUNS SPEAK AT OUR CHERCH IF WE GIVE YUNS SOME STILLER TICKETS AND CHIP CHOP HAM N’AT?
Bob: HEY, I don’t talk like that! By the way, I read my kids the bodily discharges section of Leviticus. They loved it.
Joe: You WHAT?
Bob: Yeah, they kept saying, “Daddy read us the bodily discharges part again!”
Me: Good grief, what’s gonna happen to this church when I’m gone?
(Loud airhorn noise) HONNNNNNK
Me: What is that?
Joe: That’s my airhorn app. HONNNNNNK!
Next, we take a few minutes to review the previous Sunday meeting:
Joe: Mark, your opening illustration on Sunday about the guy who laughed himself to death was pretty lame.
Me: Hey it was hilarious.
Joe: Did you happen to notice that you were the only one laughing?
Me: It was a brilliant way to introduce a message on death. You know, get them laughing then stab ‘em in the gut with conviction.
Bob: Except no one was laughing.
Stephen: SOMEBODY CALL KITTRELL!
After periods of intense concentration it’s good to take short breaks to keep everyone fresh and alert.
Me: Alright. We’ve covered Stephen’s shoes, my brilliant preaching and Kittrell. We’ve helped Bob with his Western PA accent. We’re getting a lot done. Ok break time. I need to use the bathroom and get some more coffee.
Joe: That makes a lot of sense. Use the bathroom then get more coffee. We’ll be taking breaks every two minutes.
Me: I’ll break you one, right in the head.
Bob: Like I said, I don’t have a Western Pa accent. Hey, can yuns make me some coffee n’at?
That’s how it’s done folks. Put these principles into practice in your church or company then buckle up and get ready to shoot into productivity hyperspace.
photo: Stephen preps for a pastors’ meeting by performing an air guitar solo.