I’ve got this stack of Fast Company hard copies that I’m slowly working through. Very slowly. I was in a 2014 issue, and a blurb by Stephanie Vozza caught my eye. She shared ways to make meetings better, faster, and more fun. Under “Faster,” she shared author Dick Axelrod’s idea of “asking participants to share what they need to do or say to be fully attentive.” Good stuff.
I used to work at a company with a similar practice. Before meetings and workshops, we’d ask what the “needs and expectations” were. This did two things. It allowed the group leader to understand where participants were mentally, and thereby engage with them more effectively. It also jumpstarted the engagement process by inviting participants to share something personal up front.