Five ways to make your meetings more interesting

With new research showing that one in 10 of us fall asleep in work meetings it might be time to take steps to make your conferences more interesting.

Worryingly, a similar percentage of workers have been so bored they have invented an excuse to leave a meeting, according to a poll of over 2,000 people by electronic company Sharp.

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Four-fifths of respondents claim they are more productive at their desks and most think talks go on for too long. Just 16% of employees claim meetings are stimulating.
So how can you make them more inspirational, fun and productive?

Make it relevant

Staff need to know why they are in a meeting. Firms would have had 13 million more productive hours every week if wasted meeting hours had been spent productively instead, according to a 2011 study by  Epson and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). term aims are paramount.

Only invite people along if the meeting directly relates to their role and make sure you stick to a strict timeframe. Aim, for example, for a tight 20 minutes rather than a baggy 40. Technology failure doesn’t help, with 16% of UK office staff citing this as a main cause for wasted time in meetings. Check gadgets beforehand.

Get everyone involved

It is common for staff to feel disengaged from meetings, entrenched with the feeling “Why am I here?” This can lead to conferences dominated by two or three people. So establish a connection with each person in the room, outlining the role you expect them to play. If you have 10 topics on your agenda, assign each subject to one of the staff who can take responsibility for it. Alternatively, just concentrate on subjects that are key to everyone. This makes economic sense. If you have your leading 20 staff in on a 45-minute meeting, then that conference has cost the company hundreds of pounds so you need to get the most out of them.

Body language

A team can ascertain a mood within a microsecond of a boss entering the room. The more positive and energetic the body language, the more energised and productive the conference will be. Many meetings suffer one huge disadvantage from the start.

Workers’ heads are down on the desk trying to digest an agenda’s information. Eye contact is lost immediately. So don’t distribute agendas until you’ve fired off a few short, sharp bullet points, telling staff why they are there and what you hope to achieve.

Keep things fresh

Dullness is a meeting’s biggest enemy. Don’t let things go stale. This means a multi-locational, informal approach. Don’t be tied to one meeting room. Take the team on a picnic or to the rooftop garden. Even dispense with chairs. One-fifth of UK office staff said that more refreshments would focus their concentration in meetings better.

Beginnings and endings

First impressions are key. Stand-up comedians will tell you that powerful beginnings and endings are vital to a performance. Try to get symmetry by arranging your closing comments to reflect what you said at the start, cementing the big picture again.

Posted by Ashleigh Sharp

 

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