There are many reasons why meetings are necessary in the workplace – whether you’re about to launch a new product or provide your team with useful feedback.
However, we’ve all sat through our fair share of terrible meetings during our careers.
This means that you’re likely well aware of the fact that when your meetings are unengaging (or could easily have been an email instead), the hours dedicated to them are wasted rather than being spent productively.
As such, whether you choose to host meetings in person or online, they must be informative and engaging with equal measure. With that in mind, here are three things you’re doing wrong in company meetings (and what to do about it).
1. Your presentations aren’t engaging.
There are many reasons why you might choose to use a presentation in your meeting. For example, if you’re discussing important data (such as sales metrics), having visuals to back up what you are saying can make it easier for attendees to process information. Simply put, they can make complex topics easier to digest.
Using images and video content can also make it easier for you to get your message across to your colleagues while also making the meeting more engaging. However, if you’re using the same cookie-cutter template every time or failing to see just how much you can do with a presentation, it’s likely that they’re not working in the way you initially intended. In fact, they may actually be causing your employees to disengage during meetings.
One way in which you can remedy this issue is by working with a presentation design agency, such as Hype Presentations, to curate presentations that are eye-catching, informative, and engaging. For example, they could help you to bring ideas to life through animations and motions, which means that the message you are sharing no longer appears dull and static.
You can also work to make your meetings more engaging by working on your presentation skills (which will also come in handy when pitching to investors). For example, you should ensure that you always speak clearly and confidently.
Your meetings are too long.
A recent study found that “83% of employees are unable to concentrate in meetings lasting longer than 45 minutes.” As a result, if your meetings tend to hit the hour mark (or even longer), it’s likely that they’re not all that effective. For example, you may find that crucial messages conveyed in the latter half of the meeting are not taken on board, as people are struggling to remain focused at this time.
Furthermore, the longer your meetings take, the longer your team is away from their desks – which could mean that important tasks are being ignored or neglected. This, in turn, could affect your company’s productivity and efficiency for the rest of the day.
As such, keep meetings as short as possible. Studies have found that meetings that last between 15-45 minutes are the most effective. If they’re going to be a little longer, or you’ve scheduled several meetings back-to-back, try to take a short break after 45 minutes. This is a “great way to reduce stress, increase meeting engagement, boost productivity, and improve collaboration.”
Beyond this, you must know when to avoid meetings in order to save time. For example, could the same information be conveyed via email or a quick phone call? If the answer is yes, you do not need to schedule a meeting!
You’re not working with a clear agenda.
As discussed above, determining whether or not a meeting is needed is one of the easiest ways to ensure your meeting is as effective as possible. If the answer to this question is a definite yes, then it’s vital that your reasoning is reflected in both the content and structure of your meeting. That is, you must have a clear agenda in place.
Without a meeting agenda, you’ll find it hard to use your time effectively as you won’t be working towards a clear goal or discussion point. This could mean that you spend a lot of time on unnecessary conversations, leaving your team feeling as though they are wasting their time.
Ideally, you should send out a meeting agenda, which features a list of conversation topics or discussion points ahead of time. This way, your team understands why they’re being called into a meeting and can prepare themselves accordingly. Don’t forget to leave a few minutes at the end for questions, too.
The mistakes discussed above happen time and time again in most company meetings – which is perhaps why your meetings aren’t as effective as they could be. However, being aware of what you are doing wrong allows you to avoid making the same mistakes twice.
When planning your next meeting, you may find the following tips helpful!
- If you realize that a meeting could be an email, cancel it and send out an informative email instead. While changing plans can be frustrating, this is something your team is likely to thank you for.
- Let your team know in advance when you’d like to meet; this can help them with time management.
- Send out a meeting agenda ahead of time that clearly outlines the topics you’ll be discussing.
- Keep your meetings as brief as possible, ideally between 15-45 minutes. Schedule regular breaks for your team if they need to be a little longer than this.
- Schedule your meeting at a time that is convenient for your team. The general consensus is that “the best time of day for meetings in business is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.” This way, your team isn’t too tired or burned out!
- Use a fun, engaging presentation as a backdrop or convey important messages to your team.
- Work on your presentation skills so that you’re an engaging meeting host.
- Leave time at the end of the meeting for your team/attendees to ask questions, ensuring that all voices are heard and considered.
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