5 ways to get your staff to take meetings seriously

Staff can sometimes zone out during important meetings. Here’s how to make sure they take them seriously.

Want your staff to be more engaged during meetings? Follow these simple-yet-effective tips to get the best from every meeting.

Business People Falling Asleep

From quick wins like asking for feedback, to shorter meeting times and more streamlined agendas – it doesn’t take much to make your meetings work for everyone.

1. Get everyone to participate
It sounds obvious, but the next time you’re in a meeting make a note of how many people actually speak – and how many sit there in silence.

Rather than see it as the individual’s job to speak up, get your staff talking by inviting them to share their opinion. Or structure your meeting as a brainstorm so everyone feels like they can contribute.

Participating in group discussions will make everyone a more active member of the group. It also gives more reserved staff members the chance to have their voices heard without the pressure that comes with interrupting the group.

2. Keep meetings short and sweet
No one likes feeling as if their time is being wasted. Long meetings with no clear objective not only cause staff to switch off, but they can also build resentment. Why attend that hour-long team catch-up every week when nothing ever comes from it, after all?

Pick a time limit for your meeting and make sure you stick to it by writing an agenda with only the essentials you want to cover off beforehand. You’ll soon see minutes shaved off your meeting times – even as few as 20 minutes could comfortably cover off all your points.

3. Ask staff to prepare something to present
Meetings where one speaker dominates or presents means everyone feels like they can sit back and listen without having to fully engage.

Mix things up by handing over to different members of staff each week. Ask them to prepare something – it could be a particularly interesting project they’ve been working on, a case study, or a skill they have and can teach to other members of staff.

This kind of shared learning not only gets everyone involved but also brings new ideas and different perspectives to your meetings, which can be incredibly healthy for productivity.

4. Hold meetings only when necessary
How long has that weekly or monthly staff meeting been in your calendar? These regular meetings with lots of people in them can be fairly pointless when there’s no real news to cover – not to mention tedious for those who attend week in, week out.

Rather than try to fill the allocated hour with general chit-chat, only hold these meetings when there’s an important announcement to make or a decision to be made.

Businessman in Meeting Slouching into his Hand

By turning meetings into an occasion, you reinforce the notion that when they do occur, it’s important for staff to attend and give their full attention.

If you can’t quite bring yourself to cancel that recurring diary invite, keep the regular meetings in place but cancel them when there aren’t any updates to share.

5. Ask for feedback
You might have an idea in your mind of how effective your meetings are, but how about asking your staff to directly feedback on what they find beneficial and what could be improved?

It can be really effective to get into the habit of asking staff at the end of every meeting to rate their experience of it. Try using a number score based on factors like how productive they were and how efficiently they felt their time was used and you’ll soon get an idea if your tactics are working.

Again, this also comes back to participation. If your staff feel like they can share their opinion without being knocked back, they’ll be more likely to engage during the meeting itself.

 

Posted by Sara Cano

 

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