Lead More Effective Meetings With This Kindergarten Best Practice

Last week I went to my daughter’s kindergarten parent-teacher orientation night. My wife and I met the other parents, and our teacher reviewed the curriculum, customs and rules of the classroom.

One of the weekly customs is Sharing Day, when a selected child stands in front of the class and tells a five-minute story about something that happened recently. It can be a story about anything, but preferably one she’s passionate about. The only limitation is that she can’t use any physical objects or props. The teacher explained that this method makes children accountable for creating and rehearsing their narratives ahead of time. It also fosters their ability to express themselves with full presence and animation, absent crutches and distractions.  

As I sat there at my daughter’s table in her five-year-old-sized chair, I couldn’t help but think about what a wonderful practice this is, one that could benefit many corporate cultures. Too often, we become desensitized to meetings and presentations precisely because they are filled with props, especially decks and printouts. Those can be helpful or even necessary at times, but they tend to discourage story creation and rehearsal. They propagate dispassionate delivery to the tempo of slide transitions.



If you can remove those crutches and require that information be communicated in a fast-paced narrative, it will result in a more passionate delivery, with the most important information prioritized. This already happens formally in some fields. For example, the “daily scrum” (or “daily standup”) in the popular agile software development method is similar to the Sharing Day method. But there is much room for further adoption.

Lesson: If you have something important to say, distill it to the core issue. Transform it into a narrative, with a build-up of tension, climax and resolution. Rehearse it. Then stand up and tell it like you really, really mean it.

3 comments about "Lead More Effective Meetings With This Kindergarten Best Practice ".
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  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, October 1, 2013 at 10:44 a.m.

    You make it sound like there are actual meetings taking place somewhere.

  2. Jen Mcgahan from MyTeamConnects, October 1, 2013 at 10:48 a.m.

    Millions of words have been written on how to give a speech. You got it down to 41 with that last paragraph. Good job, Max!

  3. Jason Klein from Selligent, October 1, 2013 at 11:15 a.m.

    Thanks for the reminder to not let technology or props get in the way of a good story (and to take the time to figure out what that story is and how it should be told).

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