Meetings can be pretty boring, and feel like a real waste of time. But, there are things you can do to improve the situation, even if you aren’t the person in charge.
As a general rule, people really kind of hate meetings. In fact, 17 percent of employees would literally rather watch paint dry than attend one. However, in most workplaces, regular meetings are still a necessary evil. Thankfully, there are a lot of things you can do to shake it up. Here are some quick tips.
1. Time it right
Do you know that some days and times are better for meetings than others? Science has shown Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m. might be the best choice. Even though Monday morning is a popular time for a meeting, it’s far from ideal. This is a time when folks want to focus on moving their own tasks and projects forward.
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2. Hone in on a purpose
If you’re the one running the meeting, let participants know the overall purpose. Tell them what you hope to accomplish. If you’re not in charge, it still might help you to focus on a primary objective for the meeting. What can you get out of this time?
When you doodle during a meeting, it might look like you’re distracted, but that often isn’t the case. Doodling actually helps you to focus. Of course, if you’re in a very important meeting, if you’re with clients for example, you should probably keep it to a minimum.
4. End early
No matter how long your meeting is supposed to be, folks will be quite happy to learn that it’s going to run a little short. If you’re scheduled for 60 minutes, try cutting out after 45. Tell meeting participants that this is your plan at the very beginning.
5. Don’t just sit there
If you have the authority, try shaking up the regular meeting format a bit. Walking meetings are taking off, so to speak. They can help boost productivity, creativity and mood.
6. Use talking tickets
Try giving everyone three or four “talking tickets” at the beginning of the meeting. Every time they contribute, they have to turn one in. This should help limit the contributions of that chatty coworker and help keep your meeting on track.
7. Bring food
All right, so maybe it’s not the healthiest tip, but bringing food is a quick and easy way to bust up boredom nonetheless. Why not bring a sweet treat, or even a healthy one, to your meeting table?
8. Provide an agenda
Giving participants a written agenda, or even just going over the plan at the start, is best practice when it comes to meetings. You don’t want people to feel trapped with no sense of where the meeting is going and how long they’ll be stuck in that room. Let them know the four or five agenda items you’ll be covering in advance.
9. Goof off a little
You don’t want to do anything to get yourself into trouble, but there is also something to be said for livening things up a bit from time to time at work. Goofing off, just a little, with a friendly coworker during a meeting could actually boost performance in the long run. It turns out it’s actually important to have fun at work.
10. Embrace quiet
Finally, it’s natural to feel the need to fill silences with noise. But, this isn’t necessary and it probably isn’t productive either. Instead, embrace the quiet. When silence happens, let it be. Participants might be able to offer better solutions and ideas if they’re given the time, and quiet, to think.
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