Whether you’re a teacher or work in a business setting, morning meetings can be the perfect way to kick off the long day ahead. They’re a time to touch base, share news and goings-on and plan for the foreseeable future.
There are, however, some drawbacks to morning meetings, as well as some ways to make them, well, difficult and unenjoyable for everyone. How can you avoid these pitfalls and engage your participants?
Gathering together at the start of every day can help establish bonds and trust. It’s a time for students (and you) to share news, listen to others, discuss important issues and generally develop a rapport.
Morning meetings are something students can count on and even look forward to during the week. They allow them to stick to a schedule and understand what is expected of them.
This is also a good time to hash out any conflicts that may be brewing in the class. Chances are, you don’t see your students at all times during the school day, and there might be issues about which you’re unaware. Here, you can address tensions and work toward a resolution.
Morning meetings are an ideal time to plan for the future, laying out what projects need to be accomplished and when.
Heading into the day, it’s important to make sure everyone knows what they need to do. This is an ideal time to touch base, see how everyone is doing with their work and course correct if need be.
Colleagues work together, but they don’t always work closely together. Not only are morning meetings a good time to connect and reflect on work that needs to be done, but they’re also an opportunity to meet, chat and even socialize a bit. Because they’re happening in the morning, people will feel less pressure to get things done immediately — they have the whole day for that.
Depending on the age group, students may have trouble waking up early to fully participate and engage in a morning meeting. This is especially true of teenagers.
If the meeting drags, students will quickly stop paying attention. That’s why it’s important to keep your morning meetings moving along at a relatively quick pace. You also need to keep them engaging, not spending too much time on boring topics like announcements.
Some students will be more eager to participate and share than others — that’s just the nature of people. However, it’s important to prevent some students from hogging the time and attention and encourage others to come out of their shells. This can be difficult to manage with so many students and their different personalities.
Adults get tired, too. If you hold your meetings too early, employees may wish they were still asleep — or skip the meeting entirely.
Just like kids, adults can often have short attention spans, especially when the meetings start to drag. And, just as with classroom meetings, you need to keep them moving along, addressing only important issues and avoiding getting sidetracked.
Chances are, your meetings are going to be more relevant to some employees than others. Those that are required to attend but don’t feel that the material discussed is important to their current projects may feel like the meeting is taking away precious work time.
Meetings will vary depending on your needs and the class or organization’s. Still, there are some guidelines to which you should always adhere. They are:
Any meeting can quickly get derailed by nonsequiturs, side conversations and other interruptions. Have an agenda so you can get by on track seamlessly by turning to the next issue.
We’ve already noted how people get bored easily. Make sure you’re engaging everyone by moving at a good pace and involving all participants.
You might also consider having students or employees write questions on Post-It notes ahead of time or during the meeting if you want to give them the option of anonymity.
Classroom meetings are probably a daily occurrence, so you might bring food or having students alternate one day a week as a treat. Food is also a good way to motivate adults and give them a reason to wake up early. Coffee for business meetings is a must, too.
What are the parts of a morning meeting? While meetings will differ depending on your school or organization’s needs and current projects and issues, here are some basic structures to follow.
• Address any issues
• Rundown of agenda
• Discuss issues on the agenda
A classroom meeting should last between 15-30 minutes. This is enough time to capture students’ attention and prepare them for the day ahead without overwhelming them. High school students may have longer attention spans, but their meetings can still be kept relatively short since you probably won’t include activities and will largely stick to announcements and logistical issues.
Businesses, too, should aim to wrap up morning meetings after no more than 30 minutes. People will become less engaged the longer the meeting drags, and productivity will lapse as a result. Plus, people are still waking up and probably want to get a move on their days.
Classroom meetings are a chance to touch base, share announcements and connect with students. Depending on their ages, students will attend different classes throughout the day and spend the time learning. A morning meeting gives you a chance to meet as a group and work on issues that don’t have to do with grades or the material they’re learning in class. In other words, it’s time to get a bit more personal.
It’s essential to build a community in your classroom to facilitate connections and engagement. A class shouldn’t be a constellation of different cliques; it should be a cohesive group, and morning meetings are a great way to work towards building it.