It’s Friday afternoon, and everyone is dragging their feet to yet another weekly meeting in the conference room, grumbling and mumbling as they sit down. An hour or two later, everyone is left wondering why you had the meeting in the first place. After all, only two people talked throughout the session, and the same issues you had last week are still there.
If this kind of meeting sounds familiar, you are in good company. Research shows that 40% of people have slept in meetings. Even worse, a Microsoft survey shows that 70% of employees feel that most meetings are unproductive and a waste of time.
The definition of a productive meeting is subjective because that depends on what you are trying to accomplish. And that is where you begin to plan a conference worth attending.
1. What is the purpose?
Interestingly, many companies have meetings every week without establishing the purpose first. What are you trying to accomplish?
When asked what would make a meeting worth attending, 62% of 136 people used descriptors such as clear, specific, defined, and agenda. In short, what people want is a clear agenda and a concrete outcome out of it.
And that leads us to the next plan.
2. Get out of the board room
No rule says you must have the meeting in the office board room. The layout of board rooms is a huge contributor to people falling asleep. According to milehighstation.com, you can do something different from going to a coffee shop, standing or sitting outside in the sun, or even having a round table (without the table) so you can interact more. Think out of the box venue ideas for your events, such as something historic with character and style. Creating a different atmosphere can make a big difference, especially if everyone feels essential to that meeting. You can go ahead and order some coffee or pizza, like Jeff Bezos.
Assuming that the CEO, CFO, or whoever is leading the meeting has a clear objective for the meeting, he must communicate that to the rest of the attendees. Ideally, you should send the agenda to them in advance so they can prepare ahead of time. Preparation will help people to stay on point, find solutions, and stop wasting time.
4. Have an interactive meeting
Among the issues most people have with meetings are usual culprits taking over or dominating the conversation for an hour. This leaves the rest of the attendees wondering why they came if only two people were needed. It’s crucial to have an interactive meeting where every attendee gets a chance to take part in the agenda. Assign each of them 5 minutes to share because you had sent the agenda ahead of time for them to prepare something. This is why you should only invite those who are critical in carrying out that agenda instead of the entire office.
The main ingredients of a successful meeting are defining the purpose and the outcome you want from it. Any other stuff you can come up with to make the meeting more interesting is just a spice. Finally, ensure you have come up with appropriate actions that need to be carried out moving forward.