Create Powerful Meetings for Greater Profits is a mission I’m passionate about because of the huge difference it can make in your future. I believe that most company meetings could be done in half the time with twice the productivity. Most people, when starting a meeting, just sit down and start. I think that is a big mistake. What if you took just a few minutes before a meeting starts, to go through some specific points that could make a big difference as to your results? Here are 10 points that could add to the productivity of your meetings dramatically!
It’s better to have people packed into a smaller room than to have a few people in a large room. A packed room makes the meeting seem important. Small meetings lose their effectiveness if they’re held in a big room. It’s as if energy is lost in the empty space. And, if you’re meeting in a boardroom, and there is no alternative, slide any empty chairs up against the walls. If you’re making an important presentation at a client’s office, and two people are taking you into a big conference room, take charge of your environment by asking, “What I have to share with you is very important and this is a very big room. Can we go down to your office and sit around your desk?” That’s much more intimate and will make you much more effective.
Create powerful meetings for greater profits with no empty chairs. Empty chairs make it look like “What happened? Did those people know something I don’t? Why didn’t they show up?” Empty chairs make it look like the meeting wasn’t important enough. Adding chairs later makes it look like it’s getting more important. It’s much more productive to add chairs as people come late rather than leave chairs empty. Slide any empty chairs up against the wall. When somebody comes in late, just say, “Oh, we have more people than we expected. Can we pull up another chair for ______?” People who constantly come to your company meetings are setting a bad example for others. Don’t let them sneak into your meeting quietly anymore. Announce them nicely, by name, and watch how their promptness improves.
Create powerful meetings for greater profits with good lighting. Having maximum lighting brightens up a room and makes it look more inviting. Also, whenever possible, open the shades. Natural light adds life to your meeting. Sometimes there are different circuits for different lights in the room as well as dissolves. Walk over to the switches and make sure all of the lights are on and that the dissolves are all the way up. If some of the major lights in the room are out, call maintenance and get them to change the bulbs right away. Taking a few minutes to do this can add a lot of productivity to your meeting. A well-lit room adds life to a meeting!
Create more powerful meetings for greater profits with no distractions. Look and listen for any visual or audio distractions. Make sure there’s nothing behind you that will distract or any ongoing noises. If you cannot turn off an ongoing noise, look for another room for the meeting. It’s better to take a few minutes and move a meeting than to have people shouting at each other because of a distracting noise.
All phones are on the table. If one rings, have the person answer and tell everyone about the call or text. Walk around and make sure anyone taking notes on their laptop is actually taking notes rather than checking e-mails. If they’re checking e-mails, meet with them individually later and ask, “If you were running this morning’s meeting, and everyone was supposedly paying attention, but someone was actually checking their e-mails, what would you do about it?” Let them come up with the answer. Keep in mind that people will fight for their own ideas.
Create powerful meetings for greater profits by moving people often. In addition to official breaks, keep people moving by having them stand up and greet each other several times during a longer program. Ask them to tell someone else that they’re glad they’re there. Every 30 minutes is a good idea. You could do it on the hour and on the half hour. If you need to, have everyone walk around the room twice and sit back down. If possible, you may want to take people outside for a moment. The fresh air can give your meeting new life. Most people, when they sit too long, get tired and they stop paying attention. Keep them moving!
Create more powerful meetings for greater profits by having other people do the talking Find ways to ask questions of attendees. “I’d like to ask everyone’s opinion of my last point. Whether you agree or disagree. Especially if you disagree because I’ve been known to be wrong.” Don’t ask for volunteers. Start on different sides of the room to get everyone to comment, one by one. When you have a series of points to present, stop and poll your audience after every point. If you need to, you could make adjustments in your presentation as you go along. Another way to poll your audience is to stop and ask, “What did you like best about my last point (or about my presentation)?”
Create powerful meetings for greater profits with short agendas. Only 3 or 4 items. Any other topics are to be discussed at a specific time after the meeting. Long agendas made the presenter look as if they are not organized. And, if your meeting is set for an hour, and you have 4 major items to cover, divide the hour into 4 and spend about 15 minutes on each item. Your audience will be learning from you about being organized and appreciate that you’re keeping the meeting on time. If someone wants to take you off your agenda points, say the following: “I’d like to hear more about that point. I just need to get back to my agenda. Can you and I meet in my office today at 3:00? I want to hear everything you’ve got on that point.”
Create powerful meetings for greater profits by running meetings like a television program. Display a backward timer heading to zero. Get an app such as Presentation Clock (PClock). You can set it for any amount of time and even add an alarm when you get close to the end of the meeting. Get a second app, like Mind Spark Partners, that shows the cost in payroll, per minute, for everyone to be in the room. Call your meetings “Programs” and designate yourself as the Director. Set them for 29 minutes or 59 minutes. That’s television time. Unless something unexpected is brought up, stick to those time commitments and people will respect you. Give cues along the way as to time remaining and payroll spent. “Mary, thank you for getting right to the point, you can see that we have 10 minutes remaining in the program and we’ve already spent $4,000 in payroll.”
Let people know when the break will be and tell them they can go to the restroom or get some refreshments at any time. If someone needs to go to the restroom, they’re not paying attention to the presenter. When someone is thirsty, they’re not paying attention. Sometimes someone has a back problem and they cannot sit for long periods. It would be helpful if we let them know that it’s OK for them to stand up and move around. Giving people these freedoms will actually make them much more attentive and add to the productivity of the meeting. When taking breaks, set a timer and get people back promptly. Unless something urgent comes up unexpectedly, conclude the meeting on time.
Too many people get enamored with PowerPoints and they use too many slides. Who’s the star of that program? Your screen! I’m not saying never to use them because, done appropriately, they’re great sales and teaching tools. Just don’t get carried away. Don’t find yourself reading a lot of words on a screen. Also, don’t give out detailed handouts at the beginning of a presentation. You’ve just lost 80% of your audience. They’re looking at your handouts. Give a summary handout at the end that they can take with them.
People tell me that they go through my above checklist before every meeting and they find that they have become much more productive than ever before. They’re doing twice as much in about half the time.
“I create powerful and productive meetings by following my checklist every time.”
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Copyright 2017 by Boaz Rauchwerger