If you’re spending 6 hours in a meeting, it better be worth it. Try using these 6 hacks to make the most of your meetings.
- Put away the tech
Ask attendees not to use their phones, laptops, iPads, etc. while in the meeting. In fact, suggest that they put their devices in their purses or in a different part of the room. Stowing devices in pockets will not do; the enticing vibration of a mysterious new text makes it difficult to focus on the meeting. Likewise, taking notes via computers is essentially just another form of distraction. With new emails popping up every five minutes and breaking news stories every two, staying solely on Microsoft Word is quite the challenge. Try to avoid this altogether and recommend attendees take notes on paper instead of on their laptops.
- Establish a time keeper
Elect someone to be in charge of keeping track of time. This person should make sure the group stays in line according to the scheduled agenda. This could mean giving 10-minute warnings before it is time to move onto the next topic or simply changing the conversation all together if necessary. If attendees are hesitant to move on from the current subject, take note of where they left off and ask them to follow up via email. It is essential for everyone’s sanity to stick to the scheduled agenda.
- Physical activity
Break up the meeting and get moving! After sitting for several hours, your body needs some rejuvenation. Participate in some light exercise. Try walking around the room, going out for a coffee run, or taking a stroll through the neighborhood. If you don’t have time to leave the meeting site, break out a few stretches. If you want to lead the group in a series of crunches and downward dogs, even better, but it’s certainly not necessary.
- Leave the office
Try leaving the office and working in a new location; a fresh perspective can make all the difference. Help employees get out of their comfort zones and be inspired by inviting them to work in innovative, creative spaces. The less like an office the meeting venue appears, the better.
- Loosen up
Helping attendees to relax in the meeting space can aid them in feeling comfortable expressing their ideas. You can achieve this conductive atmosphere by establishing an informal setting. For example, ask people to dress in casual clothing or try making attendees laugh in the beginning of the meeting (a chubby cat wearing a sweater can almost always do the trick).
- No sugary foods
Try not to serve particularly sugary foods to meeting attendees during the break times. While cupcakes are far cuter than carrots and hummus, they are quick to stifle productivity. Consumers of sugary foods are lulled into a hazy mindset, generally counteracted by myriad cups of coffee, which only dehydrates employees. A healthy, balanced assortment of lunch and break foods will best serve your employees and sustain their energy levels throughout the meeting.