As successful meeting facilitators, our advice has often been sought by clients who want to hold productive business meetings. Below are some practical and effective tips you can try at your next corporate get-together.
Set a Good Pace
This does not mean you are constantly bombarding your audience with information, slides, questions, etc. Quite the opposite; in between your talk, slides, Q&A and other activities, be sure to pause at critical intervals to give your participants a chance to absorb and digest the information you just shared. Setting a good pace during a meeting involves more than a flurry of non-stop activities and talk. Rather, it is about achieving a balance between meaningful silence and information sharing.
Vary the Activities
Unless you’re a gifted and charismatic speaker, we don’t recommend trying to hold a meeting by lecturing to your audience from beginning to end. From PowerPoint presentations and Q&A sessions to questionnaires and small group discussions, there is no shortage of effective meeting activities you can resort to in order to engage and hold the attention of your participants. Shifting activities every 20 minutes will keep your meeting going at a good clip.
Ask participants to come at least 10 minutes before the meeting is set to start and use that time as a brief social mixer. Your participants can exchange business pleasantries and talk about light issues that may or may not be business-related. Getting them there early is also a good way to start the meeting on time.
Set aside 15 minutes at the end of the meeting for a recap of the session. But instead of merely enumerating the issues discussed, have small groups act it out in a song, dance or even mime. This gives your participants a creative outlet and also a chance to demonstrate how much of the discussion they really understood. It will also help them to retain the important points of the meeting.
Take It Outside
Weather permitting, hold your meeting outside. A change of scenery may be just what you need for your participants to come up with innovative ideas and bold, creative schemes.
A “Moving” Experience
No matter where you choose to hold your meeting, get your attendees on their feet at the half-time mark (more often than that for meetings that will last longer than an hour). Five minutes of standing and walking as they casually chat about what has been discussed thus far will be enough to get their blood flowing again and break the monotony of sitting.