Everyone loves to feel like they’ve just wasted their time sitting in an unproductive meeting. They love sitting through cheesy power points where the presenter reads the words on each slide as though the meeting attendees lack the ability to read them for themselves. They love hearing someone drone on, facts and figures that are as dry as wheat chafe. What’s that? “Not me!”, you say. No, we’ve all had to endure such a meeting at one point and they are miserable. That’s why it’s important for those of us who frequently hold meetings to constantly strive for ways to keep the content engaging and the participants engaged. HOT LEADERS COOL FACILITATORS by Bart Wendell is where you want to start.
Unlike all the other books I have read about holding productive meetings, which all seem to focus on structure and content, Wendell uses his vast experience as a facilitator to demonstrate engagement; how to engage participants and yourself and keep the meeting engaged throughout.
If you’ve ever stood in front of a room for any length of time, you’ve seen it; audience members who would obviously rather be anyplace but here. In fact, in their mind, they probably are and you can tell it by the faraway look in their eyes. Wendell teaches how to bring those detached individuals into the conversation and keep them there, not just listening, but actively participating.
Wendell begins his work by identifying the principles of leadership within a meeting. Then we look at the three areas from which leaders lead; head, heart and gut. Later in the book, Wendell examines the three subgroups of each type. We have one of these types as our dominant source of leadership with the other two being only turned to on occasion. Next Wendell presents detailed examples of each leadership type and how to identify, recognize, and facilitate meetings when it is being commandeered by the heat of a gut leader, the coolness of a head leader or the warmth of a heart leader.
You will learn how to recognize not only the meeting participants and their leadership type, but more importantly you will recognize your own type. Then we examine how to bring about a balance of the three types to create the most productive environment for accomplishment.
The book is laced with informative and pertinent case studies of the various types in action and the results they produced as well as examples of “how-to” scenarios such as creating buy-in for an unpopular change.
For myself, I think I learned more about my own leadership style than I did about reading others, but other readers I am sure would take away different aspects of Wendell’s work here. Either way, the book is well worth reading for anyone who holds or participates in meetings they would like to see improved.
Monty Rainey is a District Manager with over 14 years in the self storage industry currently overseeing 21 stores in the Austin & San Antonio, TX area. He is also a leadership coach and public speaker. For a free consultation, please contact Monty at 830-743-2139 or visit his website at http://www.montyrainey.com .