Meetings are vital to the work day. They inspire effective communication and efficient collaboration. However, uneventful meetings can often seem like a waste of time, and when all is said and done, participants may not recognize their purpose. Here are six ways to keep employees engaged and meetings productive.
1. Don’t Call It A Meeting
When employees see “meeting” on their calendars, they likely attend the event with no idea what to expect aside from inevitable boredom. Optimize your opportunity for “meeting” success before it’s even started by using another name. Employing descriptive labels ensures employees are better prepared to contribute to the discussion. Effective titles include brainstorm, conversation, update, or group work session.
2. Start With a Bang
Kick-starting the conversation with high energy sets the tone for the event, encouraging participation and therefore productivity. Asking for a show of hands, telling a relevant story, posting a controversial statement, or opening with a pop quiz are all ways to start a session by prompting engagement. In this way, employees test their knowledge or learn something new about the subject at hand, and leaders promote the contributions they desire.
3. Make It Visual
Encouraging engagement of more than one of the senses can help hold team members’ attention as well, especially during conversations conducted via conference call. Ways to do this include taking visible notes and displaying thoughts during brainstorms, both of which can be done via screen sharing. With screen sharing, businesses can surmount the obstacle of distance and engage employees around the globe, keeping everyone on, quite literally, the same page. Give team members something to look at and increase long-distance productivity by making check-ins multi-sensory.
4. Keep It Positive
Negativity is often responsible for bringing down energy during a brainstorm. Banish business blues by establishing a positive ground rule: after each new idea, three pros must be acknowledged before a con can be introduced. This will reward and inspire cooperation and productivity, guaranteeing participants leave feeling better about themselves and their contributions.
5. Make It Optional
While this may seem counter-intuitive, making meetings optional can encourage engagement and further efficiency. How? By allowing employees to decide how their time is spent, you empower them to take greater ownership of their responsibilities. This also decreases the number of attendees who spend the meeting distracted by something else. Finally, this may motivate meeting leaders into being concise and intentional with their agenda.
6. Wrap It Up
Ending a meeting with the same energy you had when you started ensures memorability. Avoid letting engagement dwindle in those last few moments by acknowledging what was accomplished, the hard work of those who attended, and action items moving forward. This will make even a shaky session feel worthwhile and set up your next conversation for success.
Meetings are necessary for collaboration and productivity, so make them multi-sensory, positive, engaging, and intentional. By doing so, no one will ever dread that calendar notification again.
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