Segue: Connecting Personally on the Agenda
Segues before each meeting have purposes beyond a few minutes of catching up and social time. This step builds genuine connections and a better understanding of your fellow team members while supporting company culture.
The Oxford dictionary defines the word "segue" as "to move smoothly from one song, subject, place, etc., to another." When a band properly executes a segue, we may not even recognize that the song has changed.
This is how Ninety wants to make our workdays feel.
Today's world of Zoom calls means we're jumping from one meeting to the next. With stacked calendars, these non-stop meetings leave little time to mentally prepare ourselves for the upcoming conversation. When we're not ready mentally, it can feel like jumping from Sinatra to Metallica – good tracks, but the lack of a proper transition, or segue, into what's next can be jarring. The Segue part of our Weekly Meetings works to smooth the transition from meeting to meeting, so it feels more natural through video conferencing or in person.
Take Five Minutes to Share Personal and Professional "Bests"
Here at Ninety, we commit the first five minutes of every Meeting to allow for Segue time. We ask each attendee about a personal and professional best worth sharing. The "bests" match the timing of the Meeting – so the past week for Weekly Meetings and the past quarter for Quarterly Meetings. Personal bests can be anything from time spent with family to achieving a fitness goal. Professional bests add the layer of something achieved at work, whether winning a new client, success with progressing a project forward or finishing a continuing education course.
State What's Working (and What's Not)
Quarterly and Annual Meetings can have an extra layer where we ask for "what's working" and "what's not working." This additional step can elevate Issues for the team to discuss within that very Quarterly or Annual Meeting. Other times, it might warrant a one-on-one meeting later down the road.
Segues deserve a bit of forethought. Candidly, the forethought is part of their purpose. We naturally take a break and smooth that transition, breaking up tasks by thinking about what we want to share with our teammates.
There are several benefits to a solid Segue, the clearest being a smoother flow between meetings. The less obvious yet more important benefit is the connection between each other which this form of checking-in generates. We start to hear about the family, hobbies, and interests that connect us as individuals. It also provides space to celebrate accomplishments publicly.
This intentional connection is especially important when people work remotely. When we hold in-person meetings, it's customary to banter before kicking off into the main topic discussion. It's almost natural, especially if there's already familiarity between those in the meeting. But this chatty banter can sometimes unknowingly exclude the introverts in the crowd or those new to the team, which is why Segues are so important, even when meeting in person.
Yes, Ninety includes a five-minute timer for this portion of the meeting agenda by default, but don't rush through the Segue because of it. The long-term connections built between individuals within an organization are critical, so the short-term topics of any given meeting can wait a little longer.
In other words, don't worry about it if the Segue sometimes extends to 15 minutes. However, if it's happening all the time, consider scheduling a happy hour or other space for personal interaction. When the workday smoothly transitions between tasks and meetings with teammates who share a connection, work feels like Work (with a capital W).
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