Office meetings – two words that can instantly make a person’s hair turn grey, or at least be torn out as a result of pure boredom. It may be something of a cliché to both assume and state that office meetings are boring, but even at this point as the world steams into the 21stcentury, they’re still the stuff of nightmares for millions.
At the same time however they’re as necessary as anything else around the office and cannot be avoided. Which in turn begs the question – how can a business boss or manager inject a little life into meetings while still keeping things professional and beneficial? A meeting where nothing goes in at all is a meeting that might as well not have taken place, so how can things be improved in a manner that both increases the attention of attendees and makes the whole thing less of a chore?
1 – Make Sure There’s a Point
Well, first of all it’s a good idea to make sure there’s actually a point for the meeting in the first place. It sounds pretty obvious, but so many businesses the world over organise and carry out meetings every month just because it’s policy…i.e. they have to. And in such instances, there’s often very little to actually bring up in the meeting…certainly nothing of relevance…so meetings become known as pointless waste of valuable time.
So if there’s no point in having a meeting, don’t have one!
2 – Offer Refreshments
Some see presentation boards as really the only bit of kit that should be brought into the meeting room – others swear by making it into more of a mini-party. In reality it’s best to gun for an even balance between the two, which roughly translated means bringing refreshments into the equation. It’s amazing how much more compliant and attentive employees become when presented with free sandwiches and a chocolate bar – chances are you’ll have them eating out of your hand…not literally, of course.
3 – Reverse Roles
A time-old trick for getting any meeting moving in the right direction is to reverse roles entirely. Or in other words, get the attendees up on their feet, direct them to their own designated presentation boardsand have them be the ones that do the talking. Sure, there’ll be some red faces and maybe some resistance, but this is the very best way of turning what may otherwise feel like a lecture into something truly valuable.
4 – Remove the Chairs
Speaking of standing up, a recent study brought to light evidence showing how productivity in office meetings can be upped 50% by getting rid of the chairs entirely. The full psychology of why isn’t important – all that matters is that it can, does and will work so it is definitely worth a try.
5 – Get Interactive
From role plays to games to really anything else that gets the attendees active, it’s crucial to make sure that interactivity is at least considered. In some of the more serious of office meetings games may not of course be on the cards, but in terms of employee engagement there’s only ever a certain amount of time they can sit there and be talked at.
6 – Ask For Feedback and Act on It
After each meeting, request that anonymous feedback by penned and posted back to those chairing the meetings to find out exactly what would have made things better, or at least more interesting. Of course you’ll have to put up with a few snide comments and barbs, but this comes with the territory.
7 – Less Formality
Almost any meeting that comes across as too stuffy and formal can quickly hark back to sitting in the classroom as a child and being lectured by a teacher. Needless to say, this doesn’t breed motivation and nor does it inspire employees to look forward to the next meeting…not in the slightest. By contrast, if it’s possible to lower the formality level even just a notch or two to keep things light-hearted, you’ll soon find things heading in the right direction.
8 – Find a Few Freebies
Last but not least, there will always be those that frown upon the idea of buying good behaviour, but there’s no denying how well it works. Of course it’s impractical and inappropriate to bribe workers with things like bonuses and prizes for attending meetings on a regular basis, but this doesn’t mean than a few simple freebies won’t go a long way. From pens to coupons to magazines to newspapers and even the snack or two, anything that helps grease the wheels helps maintain forward momentum.