Giving a warm welcome means greeting and welcoming each other individually. Even though the meeting is about working toward a goal, it’s also important for forming connections and strengthening the team as a whole. For example, you might say something like, “Hi Grant, good to see you. Let’s talk after the meeting about plans for Friday.”
Community builders are five-to-ten-minute activities that are fun and interactive. These are a great way to kick off a meeting, giving everyone time to relax, have fun, get to know each other and settle down for the business of the meeting. For example, in one community builder, Keystoners jot down three fun facts about themselves on post-it notes, the notes are distributed randomly to team members, they read them aloud and the team guesses which Keystoner is being described. See COMMUNITY BUILDERS resource for ideas.
In one of the early meetings when the team was being formed, your Keystone Club created group agreements – a set of guidelines for how you wanted to work together as a team. Group agreements are important because they provide a standard of behavior and make the club a safe place for everyone. In all regular Keystone Club meetings, review the agreements to make sure they’re still relevant and helpful. For example, ask, “Are there any adjustments we need to make to our group agreements?”
Before the discussion starts, take a few minutes to briefly summarize the focus/discussion topic for the meeting. This lets your teammates know what to expect and what you want to accomplish by the time the meeting is over – so they can stay focused and help move the club’s goals forward. For example, say, “Today, we’ll be brainstorming to come up with ideas for possible projects. By the end of meeting, we want to have a list of ideas we can discuss the next time we meet.”
The primary activity of each Keystone meeting is a discussion with a specific focus and an outcome you want to accomplish. Identifying a discussion topic is important, not only because it provides a focus for the meeting but also because it’s how you keep moving your Keystone Club toward its goals. For example, if your meeting focus is fundraising strategies, you and your teammates will brainstorm different ideas, discuss the pros and cons of each and make a decision about strategies you want to use.
An important element of any Keystone meeting is reflection – the process of looking back on your experience to see what you’ve learned – about yourself, the team and the leadership work you’re doing together. A simple reflection – such as “What did you learn from today’s conversation or experience?” – helps you and your teammates take note of new learning and how it applies to other areas of your lives. Keystoners can express their reflections by writing, drawing, discussing or acting them out.
Recognition is a time to acknowledge everyone’s specific contributions to the team. To recognize the team as a whole, you might say something like, “We had a lot to accomplish today, but we stayed on track and got it done.” An individual recognition could be something like, “Tyler, you came up with so many new ideas today!”
A wrap-up at the end of a meeting is important for giving structure, closure and an idea of what to expect the next time. Restate key outcomes from the meeting, set a date and time for the next meeting and recap actions to do before you meet again – including tasks that need more support or work to accomplish. This helps you and your teammates know exactly what to focus on going forward. It also lays the groundwork for the next meeting and lets the planning team know what to include on the next agenda.