Meetings are absolutely vital to the proper functioning of any company, from the smallest LLP working out of the owners’ garage to the largest corporation in the Fortune 500. Unfortunately, there are few things your employees will greet with less enthusiasm than the scheduling of a meeting.
At LifeSize, we believe in the power of collaboration and we think that you can not only learn to tolerate, but actually love your meetings. We’ve rounded up five ways to improve your meetings (and no, none of them involve PowerPoint).
Here are our five tips for making your meetings more enjoyable:
1. Schedule your meetings intelligently, plan ahead and set an end time: The typical awful meeting is the one that stretches on for an interminable length of time, which is why the single biggest thing you can do to improve the quality and enjoyment level of your meetings is to keep them relatively short and sweet. When possible, make sure your meeting has a hard and fast expiration date. Come into the meeting knowing exactly what you need to discuss – and discuss only that. And schedule your meetings for times when your employees will be at their peak mentally, typically mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Too early and they’ll be groggy; too close to lunch and they’ll be either hungry or in a food coma; too late in the afternoon and they’ll be glancing at their watches and thinking about rush-hour traffic.
2. Follow Apple’s lead and name a DRI: According to Fortune senior editor Adam Lashinsky, Apple ensures project accountability by naming a “Directly Responsible Individual,” or DRI, for every action point. By adopting this practice at your company, you’ll not only empower your employees, but streamline meetings in the process. Everyone knows exactly what they’re responsible for and what their coworkers are responsible for, as well.
3. Ditch the conference phone in favor of a video system: Given that the vast majority of communication occurs nonverbally, it’s no surprise that conference calls are incredibly boring; there’s nothing for the listener to latch onto. Modern video conferencing systems are as lifelike as they are affordable, and having remotely-located teammates attend as themselves rather than as disembodied voices will really improve the quality of any long-distance meeting.
4. Provide snacks – but not just any snacks: Snacks are a great way of breaking up the monotony of a meeting, but before you go bringing donuts and sodas to the conference room, consider the impact all that sugar and empty calories will have on your employees’ attention spans and mental fitness. You don’t have to be boring and hand out fruit and granola bars, but opt for a healthy medium and you’ll have engaged and appreciative attendees.
5. Designate a “Meeting Free” day: Give your employees a break – specifically, by keeping one day a week free of meetings (barring emergencies, of course). It’ll give them a much-deserved break and a chance to focus on their day-to-day work. Not to mention, it will keep them more engaged in the meetings you do schedule.
What have you done in your organization to make meetings more fun? We’d love to hear your tips in the comment box below.