20 ways to a more engaging and inspiring library dept meeting

Young adults dancingYou know the feeling, when it’s one of your regular departmental meetings and you think …groan, this could have more energy and be a bit more inspiring…. In that case, perhaps one of the following ideas taken from library colleagues and years of experience, might be worth trying out.

Pick and choose what might suit your colleagues; quite a few are dependent on personalities and culture.

  1. Get staff to present their highlights and lessons learnt prior to the meeting on a flip chart and make that form part of your agenda.
  2. Make a rule that before ideas are criticised, that staff say 1 or 2 positive things first.
  3. Invite someone from outside your department to share what they are doing that relates to your approaching plans.
  4. Use De Bono’s 6 thinking hats game to energise and get the bigger picture on a topic.
  5. Discuss a new policy or important piece of library vision from outside your institution, e.g. the Horizon2020 Library Edition.
  6. Use drawing in your meeting to check the feeling in your team on a particular issue, and discuss.
  7. If there is a common problem, brainstorm with the team, record it and share the output with all at the end.
  8. Discuss an inspiring scientific article or blog post.
  9. Start your meeting by telling a relevant story or playing a song that represents a current challenge – no longer then 5 minutes. Metaphors can be very powerful in areas of library change.
  10. Make one of your departmental meetings dedicated just to mistakes and lessons learnt.
  11. Ask your team to come up with ideas on how they’d like to have departmental meetings in future.
  12. Have a stand-up meeting once in a while.
  13. Celebrate successes together in your team meetings.
  14. When it’s someone’s birthday, ask everyone in the team to think of a quality that this person has and share it with them at the meeting.
  15. If you have a large team, get staff to sit in 2 circles facing each other, get them to share views on something and rotate.
  16. Use pictures to stimulate discussion around a contentious topic.
  17. Set goals together for the coming week.
  18. Are you using your staff’s names regularly? If not, try to use people’s names more than you do now.
  19. Ensure that there is a call to action to the team at the end and be clear about what’s to happen before the next meeting.
  20. And if it falls flat or doesn’t work out, just try something else …

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