Momentum Podcast: 619
Hold Space For More Effective Meetings
by Alex Charfen
Let’s get real, most entrepreneurs do not love meetings. We actually talk about how much we can’t stand them. The issue we have is, we reach a point in our careers when the momentum we can create on our own isn’t enough. At that point it’s time to build a team so that we can continue to expand and grow.
Just as quickly as we build a team, we are apprehensive about spending time with them. The majority of entrepreneurs I know do everything they can to avoid too many meetings with their team.
A lot of the time then entrepreneurs are in meetings it’s because they didn’t get it right the first time. If you can make your meetings more efficient, more effective, and get the best out of your people, you will actually be excited to be in them.
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum Podcast.
We're all familiar with the old adage that entrepreneurs do not love meetings. Entrepreneurs actually have conversations about how much they actively cannot stand meetings. The issue is that the traditional meeting setup feels like it takes away momentum. And the problem is, that most entrepreneurs have reached a point in their careers where the momentum they are able to create on their own is not enough. In this episode of the Momentum Podcast, alex is going to take you through the systems, the structures and the routine and tangible advice for entrepreneurs who are maybe just a little bit afraid to meet with their teams. I hope you enjoy.
I'm Alex Charfen. And this is the Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat, because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few, who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world. Because, entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive, human evolution, and we always will be.
It's Monday afternoon, and I just got off of my weekly commitments meeting with my team. We call meetings targeted interactions, but I just got off of my weekly targeted interaction with my team where we create weekly commitments. And we had everyone who needed to be there. And within 43 minutes, we were able to create weekly commitments for everybody on the team where everyone has clarity as to what they're doing. We all understand what each other's doing, and we know what we're going to do this week to move forward. And the people who aren't included in that meeting, we also know what they're doing. So that in 43 minutes, we created massive productivity for our team.
When we do that, it's like so exciting for me. I get off out of those meetings and I'm kind of bouncing around. I'm excited because, here's the reality of business for me. So much of the reason that I am in business is because the momentum that I could create on my own, the progress I could create on my own got to a point where it just wasn't enough for me. And so the reason I have a business, the reason I have a team, is because I want to get more done in a shorter period of time, with bigger leverage, with a bigger impact. I want to be able to put more there. I want to be able to make more happen. Can you relate to that? Because, I think that's the reason why as entrepreneurs, we start to build out our organizations, build out structure, build a team.
And here's the issue that I hear all the time from entrepreneurs is that we hate meetings. We can't stand being in meetings. In fact, I've coached a ton of entrepreneurs who literally avoid meetings with their team. I work with Emily Hirsh, her story is hilarious. When I first met her, she had three or four contractors working with her, and she hadn't actually taught face-to-face on Zoom with one or two of them. She had done everything via email or text or Messenger, and had never had a meeting with her team.
When I started working with Wallace Nelson, another just incredible entrepreneur, when I first told him about how many times he should be meeting with his team, he had a physical reaction. It was like, "Dude," bent over. "You can't make me do that." And I remember, about six months later, Wallace being at one of our events and he missed our morning session. And I was like, "Hey Wallace, where were you?" And he said, "Man, I'm sorry. I had to step out. I didn't want to miss my daily huddle." It was that important to me. Like I wanted to be there. So I didn't want to miss my daily huddle. So Wallace went from having a physical reaction to having to be with his team, to walking out of an event, because he was so excited about being in his daily huddle.
I always promise entrepreneurs that if you do the right stuff, if you put the right process, structure and routine in place, time with your team will give you momentum, like it did for me today. But here's one of the most important parts about meetings or targeted interactions, as we call them, for entrepreneurs. Here's the key. It's almost the most important part about an entrepreneur. Or sorry, about a meeting with an entrepreneur. Let me tell you.
But first, just let me share with you a quote that I share with entrepreneurs all the time. "What you say is heard through a megaphone and what you do is seen through a microscope." If that makes you uncomfortable, I just want you to know it's a fact of life of being an entrepreneur. The day that you said, "I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a commodity. I'm going to self-select. I'm going to opt out of everything else. I'm going to do something different. I'm going to create product," you became a person who has now heard through a megaphone and seen through a microscope. But if you have a team, it's even more heard through a megaphone, seen through a microscope. And what that means is everything you do is amplified. Everything you say is amplified.
And so here's the key to effective meetings with your team. First, process, structure, and routine that you commit to, you show up at the right time, you're there at the right time. I've got other podcasts on that. That's not what this one's about. This one's about a very specific behavior on the part of CEOs and entrepreneurs in charge and business owners in targeted interactions. And that is that you should hold space for your team. If you're willing to hold space for your team, time with your team will give you momentum. Now, if you have the process structure and routine that we teach, it will go much faster. You'll get into momentum much faster. But if you are willing to hold space for your team, then you will get into momentum like crazy and you will start seeing your team shift in front of you.
And here's what I mean by hold space. I wrote some notes down here. You're the most important person in the business. When I ask entrepreneurs, when I go out and speak, I say, "Hey, who's the most important person in your business?" It's usually crickets and a few people yell like, "Customer." The last person I talked to, my my wife, my COO, somebody might meekly say, "Me." That's the only right answer is you. And so the most important tactic to being to getting the most out of your meetings is that you hold space for your team. You may have heard this term before. Hold space for the people around you or hold space for your team. It's a term that's used, but it's not often described or defined, so let me help you understand what it means to hold space for your team and how much it will shift your interactions with your team. And it will bring momentum from the interactions with your team, and it will improve your relationships on your team. It will make you more strategic for your team. It will change everything, if you are prepared to and you allow yourself to hold space.
Now, I want you to know it's a lot easier to hold space when you have a cadence and when your meetings are systematic and process-driven and when you know what to expect. And you know, they're going to be good. And you know they're going to create momentum. And you know there's going to be a celebration. And you know you're winning. Those all make it way easier to hold space. But, if you don't hold space, it doesn't matter if you have all those things, you and your team are going to struggle. And here's what it means. Let me define this for you.
So first, just starting out, it means being present and aware. That's it. Being present and aware. Here's what's crazy about a lot of entrepreneurs who have teams. They go into meetings with their team, and then as someone else is talking, they're answering text messages or looking at something else. Or as someone else is sharing something, they're doing something else. Or as someone else is talking, they are on their computer where you can see them moving windows around. And here's what happens. If you're not present and aware for your team, then that will be an ineffective meeting. If it looks like you're not paying attention, you will have an ineffective meaning.
So here's the rest of it, holding space. So one number one, be present, be aware. Be there with them, stop doing anything else. Get off your phone, close all your windows, get real about the meeting. I hope if you are talking to a friend of yours, you wouldn't have a phone in between the two of you. And when you're in a meeting as a CEO, as an entrepreneur, use a pen. Don't take notes on a device because it looks like you're not paying attention. It breaks the ability to hold space when you're using a device. Now that's why today in the world of almost everyone having to work virtually or remotely and using a tool like Zoom, you have to be even more present and aware. And here's what that means. That means you need to be energetically supporting your team.
Here's what that means. This may sound a little esoteric. It may even sound a little spiritual. But the world of energy is a very scientific world. I became more and more spiritual the more I studied positive thinking and energy because, there's just magic in the world. And when you are willing to energetically support your team, when you're willing to sit in a meeting and as they speak, you're willing to consider what's going on and think positively about them and see where they're excited and where they may be experiencing challenges and offer them support, or send them a note afterwards and tell them, thank you. If you're willing to energetically support your team, get out of everything else and just sit there. Not interrogating, not making sure everybody's doing everything right, but energetically supporting your team, you will see a shift in your company and a shift in your business. And be there just to give positive energy to your team, encouragement to your team, to answer any questions anybody might have.
The key is, when you are in meetings, if you're not running them, it is so much easier to be present and aware and energetically support, and give positive feedback to the team. So we suggest every CEO get into a passenger seat as fast as possible. Have somebody else run the process, the very tactical process of running meetings. That's not strategic. Let somebody else do that. For you as the CEO, as the entrepreneur in charge, you need to be in this meeting. Getting into a passenger seat actually allows you to hold much more space than you normally could. And so, when you're in a meeting, drive the outcome of the meeting.
Here's what I mean by that. Today I was in my weekly commitments meeting and I took a ton of notes on paper. I paid attention to every person that was in the meeting. I gave encouraging feedback. In 43 minutes ... I also kind of distracted stuff at the beginning of [Haley's 00:11:10] watching this, so I know I distracted stuff a little. We probably would have been done in 37 minutes, because I made some jokes at the beginning that weren't part of the process. But anyway, today in our weekly commitments meeting, there's one outcome for me. Here's my outcome. In the less than one hour meeting, I want to have full confidence that every person in my company is going to turn in a crazy-productive week, where at the end of the week, when I'm reviewing what happened, I'm not going to have any question in my mind that every person crushed it. That we invested our money the right way in salaries and in people this week. That everybody's moving forward, that our team is in momentum, that we're getting the results we want. See, I set that up on Monday. I don't go looking for it on Friday.
And so I have one outcome in that meeting. The reason that I've learned to hold space in that meeting, I do not allow myself to get distracted, is because I know that if I hold space, that is the outcome. That one targeted interaction on Monday, creates weekly commitments where Friday I'm going to have a great week. So for an hour, I've learned that that is the most important thing I can do on the planet. So I have one outcome in that hour, I'm not trying to be in that meeting and answer a text message and say something on social media and do something else somewhere else. I might for a second jump off and I'll actually ... so let me get into the tactics of how to do this.
I try and stay in the meeting as much as possible. So here's some tactics. Number one, shut everything else down. Put your phone aside and tell everybody that you're in a meeting with your team and that you're going to be focused there. Stay there and energetically support the meeting. Be present, be aware. If you're going to do something, especially on Zoom, if you're going to click into a window, I've got news for you, everyone knows. They see your upper body moving and they see the color and light changing. They see your eyes scanning. They know you're out of the Zoom meeting. And here's what I'm assuming as an in person if you were sitting there with somebody, you wouldn't be jumping in and out of the meeting, in and out of your computer. So, if you're in a Zoom call with somebody, or even in person, shut everything else out. If you have to jump into a program, that occasionally happens to me, somebody will ask me something in a meeting and I'll say, "Hey, just a sec. Let me look that up," and I'll proactively tell them I'm looking it up.
Or, the only time I'll ever grab a device in a meeting is if one of my daughters has something going on. And if I see them text, I will say, "Regan just texted. I need a second." So everyone knows, I'm not just jumping out of the meeting and they don't matter. There's a reason why I'm distracted for a moment. And I try and minimize those like crazy. When I'm talking on Zoom these days, just so that people know I'm paying attention, I'll often show my hands so that they don't have any question there's not a device in between us and there's no other distraction so that they know that I'm there. Because, in person it's much easier to energetically support someone. In person it's much easier to just be there with them to hold space. On Zoom calls virtually, it's not as easy, so I'll actually make sure people see what's going on.
And like I said before, if I'm taking notes, I'll take out a pen and write notes so that it doesn't feel like I'm doing something else, interacting with somebody else. I've changed from one outcome in a meeting to have having multiple outcomes by doing something else. So, part of the legend of being an entrepreneur, how much we hate meetings with our teams. In fact it's so much that when an entrepreneur in the room says like, "Oh, I had a terrible meeting with my team." Everybody is like, "Oh yeah, yeah. How horrible is it?"
Well, we should reverse that tide. We should deny that and say no more. Time with our team should create momentum. We need to be excited every time we walk into a room with our team, and we need to be more excited every time we walk out. And I've spent my career creating that environment, that atmosphere, those processes, that structure, that routine, so that that happens. And when you are willing to do that and then hold space for your team, you will be blown away at how excited you will be to get into the next meeting with your team.
If you would like your meetings to be more exciting. If you would like to be able to hold space for your team, to have the process, the structure, the routine so that your business can grow like crazy, go join our new community on Facebook. I talk about this stuff. We have a lot of other entrepreneurs that are growing their businesses. Go to Charfen Community on Facebook. It's Charfen Community, Grow Your Business. Predictably, Grow Your Business in Any Market, Even This One. I look forward to seeing you there.
And the next time you're meeting with your team, give this a try. Here's a challenge for you. Hold space. Put everything else aside. One outcome. Breathe yourself into the meeting. Pay attention to every member of your team. Consider them. Think about them. And then see if you get a better outcome at the end of the meeting. My suspicion is, you're going to be blown away.