There was a time when family needed no planning – all that we needed was a place for the family to gather in. All the members were close enough to drop in without much prior intimation. The courtyard of the ancestral home became the boardroom where meetings were held, children played around the adults who discussed important matters and the women cooked snacks and prepared tea for all the gathered members. The meetings usually turned out to be jolly though on a few occasions sparks flew when there was a difference of opinion. In today’s age, when most family members live separately and have a busy lifestyle, it is often difficult to get them all together on the same platform and discuss events or issues of common concern. On a few occasions when we do get together to discuss issues of common concern, it is quite likely that the discussion may be interrupted by the ring of a cell phone or by a child crying for attention. All such things have to be dealt with nowadays. Even if such is the case, family meetings can be held successfully and effectively. Here is how to hold family meetings effectively.
Running An Effective Family Meeting
Here are some things that you can do to make a family meeting effective and make it yield positive results:
- Make the meeting enticing by only serving delicious when you hold a family meeting. Also have a game on hand that the kids love to play as a fun post-meeting activity.
- Insist that everyone leaves cell phones, music players, ipods in another room so they aren't tempted to check them. Remind anyone who protests that the meeting will be over faster with no interruptions.
- Wake up a half hour earlier rather than have the meeting past the kids' bedtimes if those are the only two options because of your busy schedules. It's better to have everyone a little sleepy than cranky and exhausted after a long day. As a bonus, the adults won't be dwelling on the events of the day and may be motivated to get issues resolved before breakfast.
- Keep the meetings moving by preventing people from talking over one another. Designate an object like the television remote, a wood block or pepper mill as the "talking item", loosely representing a microphone, and only allow the person holding it to be the one to speak.
- Try not to schedule meetings during events that will split someone's focus. For example, if you ask a diehard football fan to attend a meeting while his favorite team is playing in the Superbowl, he may not be able to give each issue the attention it deserves.
- In an age where people have demanding professions, it would be very inconvenient if only one person keeps initiating these meetings and making arrangements for the same. Thus, take turns arrange for regular family meetings if you all have busy schedules. This way, no one will be able to grumble about being the only person to sacrifice free time.