Studies reveal that meetings are seen by most people as a waste of time. According to Epson and the Centre for Economics and Business Research, ‘Wasted time in meetings is costing the economy £26 Billion,’ the research further reveals that, ‘repetition of information, lack of focus amongst attendees and unstructured agendas were seen as the top time-wasters.’
Daniel Solomon, Economist at CEBR suggest that, ‘With the UK experiencing the first double dip recession since the 1970s, it is vital that UK businesses look to address their policies on meetings and consider ways that these meetings could become more effective. This research suggests that if meetings became more efficient, GDP could be increased without anyone having to spend any more of their day at the office.”
Michael Begeman, leading authority on one of the business world’s most universal rituals: the meeting, points out that, “Great meetings don’t just happen — they’re designed. Producing a great meeting is a lot like producing a great product. You don’t just build it. You think about it, plan it, and design it.”
Meetings should be fun, exciting and productive and it’s all about following the right steps to achieve that goal.
Natural light therapy
Change of ambience makes a big difference to the mood of the meeting. It takes the stress and dullness out of participants. Most companies have stuck to the stereo typical meeting rooms with artificial white lights. Choosing a meeting place outside the office with plenty of natural light is the key. Participants in such settings has proven to be less prone to negative emotions, more focused on tasks and discussions,more productive, happy and positive.
Connecting with everyone
Establishing eye contact right from the beginning of the meeting is vital as workers feel more connected to the session and tasks at hand. Eye contact makes meetings more personal and builds rapport which promotes collaboration.
Make opinions matter
Encouraging participation ensures the full attention of the participants. Taking their opinions and feedbacks on board results in a boost of their morale as it gives them a feeling of belonging and excitement. Assigning someone as a meeting moderator is a good idea to ensure everyone participates and no one is left out.
Individual action plan
Instead of allocating tasks and things to do to each and every one, request the participants to share what they think is their responsibility. This ensures that participants are alert and know exactly what they are supposed to do. Having their say at meetings without being dictated makes a refreshing change.
Short and simple
Set a specific and detailed agenda. Meetings which are short and simple has a long lasting impression on participants than meetings which drag on and on. Allocate time limits for each discussion so that everyone sticks to the time they are allowed. So much time is wasted waiting for late arrivals so it is best to start on schedule when everyone is anxious.