Meetings add energy or deplete it…

Dennis Sparks

Meetings add energy to the school community or they deplete it. They seldom have a neutral effect.

Meetings that energize:

• Have clearly stated purposes that community members care about, with agenda items and outcomes matched to those purposes,

• Produce learning that is likely to alter participants’ beliefs, understandings, and behavior for the benefit of those purposes,

• Engage all participants in intellectually-stimulating conversations that spiral deeper into important issues,

• Conclude with clear “next actions” — everyone knows exactly what will be done, by whom, and by when, and

• Have high levels of interpersonal accountability to ensure that tasks are completed on time in the agreed upon way.

Meetings that deplete energy:

•  Lack one or more of the above,

• Focus on administrivia, and/or

• Consist of serial speechmaking, often dominated by meeting leaders, during which predictable views are expressed and remain firmly held. As a result, nothing of consequence changes during or after the meetings.

What would you add to these lists?

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