Do you want to a hold a better meeting? Of course you do!
Buffer recently posted research about ways to build a better mousetrap when it comes to meetings. Here are a few of their tips – along with some of my own.
What is Your Purpose?
Christopher Frank, Vice President of American Express, recommends you ask the following question:
“What exactly are we meeting about?”
If you and your event planning staff cannot answer that question in 5 words or less, you should not hold the meeting. Period.
Keep Meetings Short
Marissa Mayer, the President and CEO of Yahoo, systematically holds 10-minute meetings. TED talks are 18 minutes or less.
Bottom line: Keep the meets short and everyone will appreciate it.
Set a Timer
The staff at Basecamp, a project management software organization, sets a 30-minute timer and when it rings, the event is over.
No Chairs Please
Setting up your breakout sessions with no chairs, forces attendees to pay attention and because they will eventually want to sit down, they will move the meeting along.
As reported in Social Psychological and Personality Science, Andrew Knight and Markus Baer, both from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri asked 214 students to form small groups that were told they would be assessed on creativity.
All the participants were asked to wear a sensor that would measure how "activated" and "engaged" they were. The groups were then sent to work in rooms which either had chairs in it or none at all.
Knight and Baer found that the members of the groups who stood up tended to be more collaborative than those who sat down during the meeting. The ones that stood also produced better quality work.
Remember, you can rent iPads and use them easily when standing or walking. In a large meeting, these tablets can be used as second screens.
Take 2-Minute Breaks
“The purpose of meetings is not to talk. The purpose of meetings is to arrive at ideas, solutions, plans and decisions.” – Alexander Kjerulf, Author
Take listening breaks – so attendees can absorb the information. Silence is truly golden!
In summary, keeping your meetings short with a focused purpose and providing nowhere to sit with brief silence breaks, should be enough to turn your meetings into a productive and stimulating event.