We all know that meetings can get long and boring — but still, they’re often necessary. Since we have to keep them around, how can we make them more engaging? Here are three great methods.
Keep Them on Their Toes
Ben McCrery, President of One Park Financial, shares one very simple technique: removing the chairs. Meetings now require that the participants stand. And the result? “We have seen meeting times reduced by 75%,” McCrery says. No surprise there, since tired feet will tell you when you’ve gone on too long, even if you forget to watch the clock.
And what’s more, McCrery says, “I also feel that the quality of people's attention, their engagement, is much higher when standing.”
Nicole LeLacheur, Account Executive, Integrated Media at Schneider Associates, tells us about a technique used at her company to keep meetings from “hogging” employees’ time: “Our office has a timer in the shape of a pig, and if we really need to stay on schedule, we'll start the timer and give ourselves an allotted time to get through action items. When it buzzes, time is up.” When you know you have a hard deadline, everyone is much more likely to stay checked in and make use of the time.
Unleash Your Inner Child
LeLacheur shares another method Schneider Associates uses. As a PR/marketing company, their employees are very creative and collaborative, and brainstorming sessions are frequent. To get the energy going, they have “an idea space where the walls are covered in white board paint — if we need to brainstorm and throw around ideas, we'll meet in that space and write on the walls.”
Make Change a Constant
Casey Fisk, Content Strategist at Boogie, tells us that her company adapts to fit the circumstances of the meeting. “Our office is an open work space, and depending on the type of meeting (creative vs. strategic, client vs. internal), we switch up the space in which we have it. Creative meetings are often held in the collaborative space to optimize free thinking and playing off of one another's ideas, whereas strategic client meetings may be held in the conference room, where the seating and distractions are limited.”
They also adapt to the circumstances of the employees themselves: “We have realized that we are at our best when our morning coffee is kicking in, and at our worst when our blood sugar is crashing post-lunch, so we schedule meetings whenever we can in the mornings or early afternoons as opposed to late afternoon, when people have a tendency to start looking at the clock and thinking about getting home and what's for dinner.”
Maintaining employee engagement during tedious meetings is tough, so try out some of these ideas to infuse energy and spark inspiration.