Busting boring meetings

Murray Dairy recently held the Running Brilliant Meetings program in Lockington.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent popularisation of online gatherings has given rise to the importance of running effective, productive and engaging industry meetings within the agricultural sector.

In June, Murray Dairy engaged the services of Kristy Howard and Cynthia Mahoney to facilitate their Running Brilliant Meetings program in Lockington.

It was a one-day seminar designed to help participants turn mundane meetings into must-not-miss viewing.

At the start of the session, local dairy farmers and service providers heard from leadership coaches Dr Howard and Ms Mahoney, who identified ways of running and participating in productive and successful community meetings that are to schedule, on time and on target.

Interaction and humour are keys to good meetings according to leadership coaches Kristy Howard and Cynthia Mahoney.

Dr Howard suggested that meetings should be elevated to a fun and interactive experience, so that attendees treat it as a priority event in a calendar filled with competing commitments.

“It’s all about creating meetings that are the hot dates, which are brilliant. They achieve what they want to do, and everybody gets something out of them,” she said.

Dr Cynthia Mahoney.

“I think the ag sector is sometimes seen as ‘old fashioned’ and ‘conservative’ in the way decisions are made.

“For young professionals to be attracted to participate in ag sector industry groups and committees, it needs to be seen that meetings are ‘hot dates’ in the sense that they are a ‘must attend’ to be part of exciting change and initiatives, not full of old-fashioned ideas and ways.

“Effective meeting structures and meetings are essential to attract the next generation to participate.”

The pair provided practical tools and tips about meeting process and roles, including how to manage different personalities within meetings effectively.

And, as Ms Mahoney described, sometimes it’s also about managing yourself in a meeting.

“Sometimes we don’t behave at our best in a meeting,” she said.

“Making sure in terms of setting expectations that the meeting is not the work.

“So, you can’t just join a committee — there’s actually work to do before the meeting and after the meeting.”

Overall, the program focused on working with attendees to lift the standard of local meetings to reduce frustration and boredom, while increasing participation levels to help achieve positive outcomes within communities.