8 Tips For Conducting Successful Family Meetings
While a meeting is usually held to discuss a predetermined topic, family meetings are different. Read on to find out why, and how to have a successful family meeting.
By Lakshmi Rajan
Imagine a team where the members don’t communicate with each other or make an effort to understand each other. Sad isn’t it? A family that does not get together or meet regularly functions in a similar disjointed manner. Most of the time, decisions are taken without discussions and caring about how other members would feel, leading to disagreement and resentment among the family members. Also, in a family that doesn’t meet regularly, there does not exist a close relationship among the members.
Would you like this to happen in your family as well? No? Then get ready to lay down the foundation for a family where members look after each other and function as a single unit. Having regular family meetings can help you achieve your objective of a strong and cohesive family. Here are a few tips to help you understand how to have a good and successful family meeting.
- Keep it informal: A family gathering is not a boardroom meeting where everyone is on the edge. Keep the atmosphere happy and relaxed so that everyone feels comfortable. The family meeting should be an occasion where everyone feels encouraged to speak up.
- Start on a positive note: Choose a pleasant setting for the interaction which helps everyone feel relaxed and at ease. Begin the meeting by sharing the positive experiences family members had with each other. You can also keep some snacks handy to pass along among the members.
- Draw up a plan: Most of the time, anything done without proper planning does not produce the desired results. If you want the family meeting to be fruitful and productive, lay down some rules for the meeting. Also, come up with a plan on how solutions and follow-up actions will be implemented.
- Encourage everyone to speak: Sometimes, a member of the family, especially a child, may feel shy or hesitant to voice his thoughts in front of others. In such a scenario, encourage the individual to open up and speak, and praise his effort to build his confidence.
- Induce some fun: Children find serious discussions tough to handle. So, introduce an element of fun and excitement in the discussion which would keep the children interested. For example, selecting a place where the family would go for a picnic or decide a fun-filled activity that children can engage in.
- Do not pass judgements: Make it a rule to allow each family member to speak without being disturbed or judged. This will encourage everyone to share their thoughts, problems, achievements, dreams and hopes. Treat confessions with maturity and don’t begin blaming the individual.
- Keep it short: Make sure that you keep family meetings short, preferably wrapping it up within 30 minutes. This would ensure that children don’t feel bored and restless, as they have a shorter attention span compared with adults, which results in deaf ears and drifting thoughts.
- End it with a bang: Conclude a family meeting with some fun activity such as singing together or playing a word game. Including such things in a family meeting can make it an occasion that every member looks forward to.
Most families either don’t have a family meeting or aren’t very keen on having one. Also, they underestimate the effectiveness of a family meeting. But, family meetings, if done properly, can achieve a lot. It can become an occasion to bond together, iron out differences, strengthen communication, resolve family issues or problems of individual members, and include everyone in the decision-making process. So, give it a try to experience its many wonderful benefits.
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