Last week I had the great pleasure of meeting Cole Wirpel, President of AIESEC, the world’s largest youth run organization committed to developing high potential youth into globally-minded, responsible leaders. Cole, and Alexi Hayes, their Director of Business Development, showed me how to make team meetings more effective.  It’s one of the most unique ways of  communicating I have ever come across. They’ve implemented it throughout their organization. And even though they use it most often in meetings, they also use it outside of meeting rooms.

How to make team meetings more effective: Use hand gestures

Remember the last meeting you had with multiple people in the room? Where people went off on tangents, repeated themselves, others repeated/restated what others said, individuals went on and on, people cut each other off…oh yes, the joys of group communication.

When you implement these hand gestures, you do away with a lot of that nonsense. They’re almost like a type of sign language – one that crosses language barriers that can happen within an international organization. But whether your company crosses country boundaries or not, these hand gestures are a brilliant way to effectively, respectfully and efficiently communicate important concepts such as:

  • I agree.
  • I’d like to speak and recognize I’m after her/him.
  • I was going to say something, but I’m good now – it was either already said or got addressed.
  • We’re going off on a tangent.
  • Getting a sense of where the group is at.

Learn the hand gestures:

Watch a short video of some of the hand gestures AIESEC uses on a daily basis to communicate the above items.

How can you use these gestures (or create your own!) in your next meeting to clearly and quickly communicate.