Working with kids in a Board Meeting

September 30th, 2015

 

Skateboard dreams come true in a Board Meeting

Whether you have children, or not, the idea of working with other people’s kids is a daunting one. This is one of the unique differences to hosting a Board Meeting. Participants have to work with children no matter what. Not only are they working with youth, but they are going to be giving the skateboard to this youth. So, team members have to learn to listen, communicate, and teach someone less than half their age.

HOW DO YOU TALK TO KIDS AT A BOARD MEETING?

“The basic challenge,” says Michael Thompson, Ph.D, co-author of Raising Cain, “is that [adults] very often speak without understanding how children receive the message.” Adults often make the assumption that children understand, but then are left wondering ‘Why didn’t the kid do what I asked?’

Many childless adults throw their hands into the air saying “What do you say to kids? How do you even talk to them?” The answer is very simple. Treat them like a regular person. So, no dumbing down the vocabulary, or using baby talk.

WHERE DO YOU BEGIN A BOARD MEETING?

Getting children to relax is the first step in the team building process. Take a moment to get to know them. Ask open-ended questions about their interests or something they know about. Ask about video games or electronics. Be sure to get down on their level. You can do this by bending down or sitting in a seat next to them.

Make sure not to talk loud or fast. Keep your hands to yourself. If you are working with older kids don’t ask about their girlfriend/boyfriend. If a difficult question does come up refer back to a Board Meeting chaperone, or simply say ‘I don’t know.’ Above all don’t discipline them. Refer to a chaperone. Always maintain empathy. Try to see things from the youth’s point of view. And if you still don’t have any idea how to open up you can Sports cast. Just start saying everything as they are doing it. ‘Look. You got the screwdriver. Hey, you found the orange marker you were looking for.’

Strap in for the best Board Meeting ever.
Once the children have relaxed and you’ve gotten to know them. Then you want to dive into the Board Meeting kit. The biggest challenge your team might face is how to incorporate the youth into the process. One of the easiest things is to let them read the instructions as you assemble the skateboard. You could set them to decorating their helmet while your team assembles the skateboard. But that’s not why you’re having a Board Meeting.

The best idea would be to put the youth in charge. It is going to be their skateboard. Let them divide up the work. Obviously, the rest of the team would help lay out the jobs to be delegated. But, let the youth decide who is going to do what.

The Board Meeting Teambuilding kit

As you’re working with the child be sure to ask specific questions along the way. Repeat what you’ve heard to make sure you and the youth understand what’s been agreed upon. Be sure to let them try each part of the skateboard assembly and decoration. They need to feel like a true part of the team and not just a puppet figure head awaiting their prize. It’s always a good idea to offer help as many older children will be hesitant to ask for it.

Once you’ve reached the end of the Board Meeting thank the child for their leadership. Ask them what they plan to do with the skateboard now that they own it. See if they can test ride it for you. Watching them light up with the excitement of a life changing event will be a memory you cherish forever. You might even become a superhero is someone’s eyes.