Sometimes it can be hard to capture and maximize co-workers’ engagement levels during a huddle week in and week out.
Increasing and maintaining focus and engagement should be a constant goal for any huddle leader. Take a look at these five easy-to-implement steps to create the ideal atmosphere for truly productive huddles.
5 Steps to Creating the Ideal Huddle Atmosphere
1. Add optimism to the atmosphere before beginning. Whether the huddle happens first thing in the morning, midday or after lunch, warm up the atmosphere before beginning the huddle. Try to get everyone in a cheerful, happy mood. Tell a few jokes, tell a story or share something personal with the group. I like to start the huddle process well before it actually begins by talking with my co-workers and employees during our lunch (we hold our huddle after lunch every Wednesday). I tell them a story or joke and, with my accent, most things come across as funny and get people laughing!
2. Personalize pre-huddle conversations. Encourage engagement. Prompt groups of people with questions and then allow them time to talk about those topics. Try to get people who don’t normally work in the same department to interact with each other, allowing them to learn something new about a few people before the huddle starts. The information learned during pre-huddle mingling can be used when you start the huddle. Reference the new haircut, the funny story about kids or the football game. Personalize the huddle and capture attention.
3. Start the meeting off with a bang...or a ding! Before we begin any huddle, we ring a bell. This tradition signifies the beginning of our meetings, and everyone respects it. Our bell is one of the smallest things in the room, but one of the most important because it means the same thing to everyone. Find something meaningful to your group with which you can start your huddles.
4. Pay attention to the details. During the huddle, it is your job to make sure that you’re delivering the content in a way that opens up the group for engagement. Dry, monotonous delivery probably won’t do it, no matter how engaging the actual material might be. Pay attention to the details: What generates laughs? What gets people to nod or shake their heads? Do you ask questions, and are there responses? Does it seem like the group is excited to hear you speak? Take note as to how the crowd is reacting and incorporate spontaneity or motivation when necessary. Prompt when necessary. If the group seems to be down about poor performance, end your huddle with a little kick in the pants—and make it positive.
5. Build a connection outside of the huddle. One of the best ways to get your group ready for a huddle each week is by building (or continuing to build) a connection with everyone outside of the huddle. I have formed very strong connections with my co-workers and have gotten to know everyone on a more personal level. They know my family, I know theirs, etc. We talk every day, and it makes every huddle count that much more because we all know that we’re working together to build a strong, successful company. We also all know more about what motivates us individually to perform well.
Of course, you must customize your huddle to best compliment your own company culture. However, through the years, I’ve found the above steps have contributed significantly to the success of our huddles at Tasty Catering.
Check out Tasty Catering's Huddle in action!