Business meetings can often be a drag; someone is droning on about growth and profit, there’s an accountant snoozing in the background, and someone always has a cell phone that goes off in the middle of the presentation.
What if we could have better, more engaging business meetings? Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your meetings, and most of all, keep everyone active and engaged.
Keep Content Relevant and Interesting
It’s important to keep your business meetings on the topic at hand. If you’re meeting to discuss growth and sales numbers,ensure your content is focused on this. When you start to drift away from the subject matter, people tend to lose focus and drift also.
Keep your audience engaged by providing them with copies of your materials, speaking clearly and at an audible volume, and try to have some passion about what you’re presenting.
Someone who doesn’t care about the information they’re presenting is going to speak quietly in a monotone voice, most likely assuring that at least one person will nod off during the presentation.
Using powerpoint or a Prezi is a good way to keep the audience involved; Prezi provides great tools for generating aesthetically pleasing and effective presentations.
Use The Right Tools For The Job
Whether you’re having a virtual meeting, a conference call, or in person meeting, having the right tools for the job can help improve the quality of your business meetings. Don’t use a conference calling service that has bad ratings or a reputation of inconsistency.
If you are using a virtual service, be sure you have a good internet connection and telephone hard lines. Using a mobile phone for a conference call can be risky, as the connection could be dropped or the phone could die in the middle of a call.
If you’re presenting remotely, you can find screen sharing software for business meetings on websites such as conference calling.com. This allows you to show the attendees what you’re seeing on your computer screen, whether it be a power point, sales graphs, or other pertinent materials.
Have A Strict No Cell Phones Policy At Meetings
When a phone goes off in a meeting, it’s not only disruptive to the content and its presenter, but also extremely rude and disrespectful to those in attendance. It says “what’s going on in my life is more important than this meeting”.
While there are certain exceptions for emergencies, having a strict no cell phone policy in your meetings will ensure that no notifications interrupt the presenters or cause disruption.
Be Sure To Let Everyone’s Voice Be Heard
Your business meetings are generally to consult with the experts within your business, therefore it’s very important that you allow everyone’s voice to be heard equally. The team members present represent the various branches of your company, and each has a specialization within that branch, and a different perspective to offer. An employee will feel appreciated as well when his or her voice is heard, fostering loyalty and bonding between employees and management.
Preparation is absolutely essential for an effective business meeting. If you’re scrambling during the meeting to obtain materials and information, not only do you look disorganized and careless in front of your colleagues or employees, but it also means that the meeting will be longer and more drawn out, increasing the risk for disengagement and dissatisfaction.
Be sure to gather your materials the night before your meeting, ensure you have all the printouts and other materials required, and that you’ve gotten an adequate night’s sleep so you can be awake and alert during the presentation.
Use a printing service or copier and make extra copies; it’s always better to have too many copies than not enough. Alternatively, you can use a cloud-based service to upload and share all the materials with your employees beforehand, saving you time and money.
If You’re Hosting The Meeting, Take Charge
If you’ve called the meeting, it’s your job to take charge of it and ensure that all information is presented accordingly and understood by all. Be sure to leave time during and before the end of the meeting for any questions or comments from your team. A good leader is first and foremost a good listener, and hearing your team’s suggestions and questions will boost their respect for you and their willingness to come to you with any problems.
Minimize The Frequency And Duration Of Your Meetings
If you host a meeting every week on Monday morning, or more than once a week, step back and ask yourself: Do I really need to have a meeting every week? Could we have them perhaps once a month, or once a quarter instead? If you find yourself repeating the same things week to week, maybe it’s best to have a larger time period between meetings so that fresh information has time to accumulate.
Does your meeting really need to be an hour and a half long, or can you trim some of the excess information and include only the essentials? The longer the meeting, the larger the chance for disengagement and general boredom. What are you discussing in your meeting? Do you need half the morning to get your point across?
These questions are vital to holding efficient meetings. Time is money, after all, so the shorter and sweeter your meetings are, the more engaged your audience will be, and the more time you can spend working on projects instead.