Okay, so maybe not magical…but there are things you can do to rev up engagement in your meetings. After all, it’s likely that you spend at least 25 percent of your professional time in meetings, so why not put a little work into making them more appealing for all those involved. To get you started, give the following five tips a try:
- Know your audience—Pay attention to every attendee as they walk through the door. Measure moods so you can adjust your approach. For example, if someone was stuck in traffic and appears irritated, give them a little space to decompress and then offer them coffee before starting. Little gestures can go a long way.
- Remove distractions—It can be hard enough to keep people’s attention, especially in longer meetings. Host your meetings (as often as you can) in a room set apart from high-traffic areas or where customers are visible. Also, ask everyone to silence their phones. Finally, provide a short agenda so people know what’s in store and have an idea of when they can get back to work. This can sometimes quell the urge to get back to it and allow employees to focus on the topic being discussed.
- Be prepared—There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting in a meeting where the host is completely unprepared—which can drag things out longer than need be. Come into your meeting armed with a structured agenda and stick to it.
- Open with a question—This sets the tone that everyone’s voice is important. By posing a question to the group, you jumpstart participation and support a more collaborative culture. Don’t be the only one to talk…that can get old very quickly.
- Put some focus on the big picture—Getting everyone passionate about individual projects and the business overall can be difficult. While you may be pitching a new product in a particular meeting, take some time to share a few reasons why employees should care about the project. Discuss revenue goals, product relevance or how customer pain points will be solved. A little big picture talk can quickly get everyone engaged and excited.
You don’t have to love them…but you can’t leave them either. Meetings are a part of the workday, so do what you can to improve the experience for everyone.