CINCINNATI -- Meetings are the subject of much scorn in the business world, but that hasn’t stopped businesspeople from having lots of them.
A veteran of 30-plus years in media sales and management, Lisa Thal has attended countless business meetings. If the technology had been around during the early part of her career, Thal thinks she might have been guilty of browsing her smartphone instead of paying attention during many of them.
Though many businesspeople wouldn’t mind if the solution was to just make meetings three words long, that’s not what this book is about. Instead, Thal has created a tool for leaders and managers to harness the power of three-word phrases to engage and inspire employees. Each chapter uses a three-word phrase as a jumping-off point, and each chapter provides an entire meeting’s worth of discussion and engagement.
““I’ve written 53 three-word meetings that a manager can go to quickly and go, where’s your team?” Thal explained. “Do they need inspiration? Do they need coaching? Do they need training? And those words all mean something.”
A manager with a passion for coaching that goes beyond the business world -- she’s a Tony Robbins adherent and a certified life coach -- Thal wanted to find a way to make sure her employees would be more interested in her meetings than their phones.
“I played sports growing up, and I’m all about team,” Thal said. “If you’re going to lead a team, I’ve always felt sales meetings were that time to connect with your team.”
Nike’s “Just Do It” advertising campaign inspired her to try a new tactic. While watching one of the shoe company’s commercials about three years ago, Thal realized just how powerful concise phrases can be.
She decided to see if she could put that power to work for herself.
The Monday following Thal’s "Eureka!" moment, she walked into the meeting room and wrote three words on the white board: “It’s all possible.” She instructed her employees to give the phrase some thought, as they would circle back to it after covering the business of the day.
Thal wasn’t sure what to expect, but the response of her employees surpassed her expectations. They each offered their perspective on what “it’s all possible” meant to them, and then turned to how the lessons of the phrase could be used to change how they did business.
The success led Thal to come up with a new three-word phrase every week, tailored to what she felt would address the team’s needs. Did they need coaching? “Attitude, Approach, Action” became the subject. A morale boost? “On the rise.”
Thal’s team was hooked. If a sales meeting was canceled, they would still email her to get that week’s three words. Eventually, each team member led a meeting, introducing their own three words and coaching each other up.
“This is the most important part of the meeting,” Thal said. “It’s the engagement, it’s the fun, it’s the energy, and now your team is participating instead of surfing the net.”
Thal may enjoy coaching others, but many managers struggle to find ways to keep their team inspired. That’s a problem she hopes “Three Word Meetings” will help address.
“Nobody teaches you how to do a meeting,” Thal said. “They just go, ‘Become a manager and run a meeting.’”
Though the book is written for managers, Thal sees it as a tool for anyone who needs to lead or inspire others. Nonprofits, teachers and leaders in all fields can find use for the lessons in her book, Thal said.
Thal’s book -- her second -- has been met with praise from local business leaders. The book has been endorsed by Bill Reinberger, vice president of corporate sales with the Cincinnati Reds, and Bryson Lair, Cincinnati Bell Business sales manager.
“Sales meeting content is something every sales manager has struggled with,” Lair wrote in his endorsement. “‘Three Word Meetings’ gives you great ideas on how to create a little fun, with a motivating tone everyone can rally behind. These are useful no matter what industry you’re in.”