Dear Dan: How Should I Lead my First Group Meetings

Dear Dan,

Your work is both an encouragement and a kick in the pants.

My question is, “What themes or approach would you suggest for my first group meetings as a leader?”

I have many ideas swirling and I’m particularly concerned about striking the right balance between personal and professional. Your thoughts would be valuable.


Swirling Ideas

Dear Swirling.

Thank you for your email. Your interest in leading group meetings is well placed. I’m responding to you from two perspectives. First, I’ll offer a coaching perspective. Second, I’ll offer a few suggests.


Best and worst:

Make a list of the 5 best and 5 worst meeting leaders you have experienced. Beside their names record two or three things you see in them that makes them the best or worst.

Based on your reflection, what three things will you do and what three things will you avoid like the plague?

  • When you reflect on your lists, what patterns emerge?
  • What makes the best the best and the worst the worst?

Best meetings:

Bring the best meetings you’ve experienced to mind.

What happened in those meetings? How will you create an environment where the best possible meeting will be likely?

Worst meetings:

Reflect on the worst meetings. How will you create an environment where the worst meetings will be less likely?


#1. Involve as many people as possible.

The more other people talk, the more successful you will be at building trust and engagement.

If you want an engaged team, engage them early and frequently.

Allow people time to prepare by showing them an agenda and asking them where they can make the best contribution.

#2. Regarding personal and professional.

Focus on others.

Before the meeting, focus on your performance. When the meeting begins, forget about yourself.

  1. Like and respect the people around the table.
  2. Provide opportunity for others to shine.
  3. Talk to and about others more than you talk about yourself.

What suggestions do you have for Swirling?

How might Swirling balance personal and professional?

(I exclude the “Dear Dan” portion of these posts in the word count.)

Bonus material:

7 Tips for Leading Meetings More Effectively (Inc)

6 Meeting Saboteurs Every Leader Meets (Leadership Freak)