How to make a meeting memorable
Submitted by Catrin Fox on
"A meeting is an event where minutes are kept and hours are lost"
Do you agree or disagree with this sentiment? Judging by the barrage of published research relating to unproductive business meetings, unfortunately it seems most of the working population wholeheartedly agree.
For instance in 2014, research by Robert Half Management Resources found that at least 25% of time spent in meetings is unproductive. Last year, MeetingSquared claimed that 40% of UK staff found at least half of their meetings unnecessary. Another survey suggests around 67% of meetings are considered to be failures. The list of studies goes on... and on.
Isn't it time we stopped wasting time?
If your meeting structure doesn't work, it's in your business interests to fix it. Meetings exist for a reason, and great things can be accomplished when people get their heads together in a stimulating and professional environment.
With that in mind, here we explore how to make your meetings a little less meaningless, and a little more memorable:
Pick a Great Venue
Don't settle for the ordinary. Choose a meeting venue that not only sets the right tone for your objectives, but also delivers a certain 'something' that will get your guests talking. You could choose a site of historic interest, such as Holland House, or opt for a contemporary meeting venue with truly impressive views like 110 Bishopsgate.
The importance of visual aids in a meeting cannot be overlooked, particularly if you want to make your meetings more memorable. In one study conducted three days after a presentation, people who attended the meeting with visual aids remembered 65% of the information, whilst those without visual cues only remembered 10%. Whether it's a snappy video showcasing your latest product, graphs, photographs, or even a witty GIF to emphasise a specific point, visual cues are a powerful tool to enhance the impact of your presentations.
Feed the Mind
Celebrated British author Virginia Woolf once said, "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well" - and who are we to disagree? It goes without saying that breakfast or lunchtime meetings should include catering; but even if you're calling a short team meeting or a company announcement, why not throw in a few treats? A selection of sweet treats, pastries, doughnuts, or fresh fruit for a natural sugar fix and some healthy snacks will perk up even the dreariest of meetings.
Keep it Snappy
Whether you're running a weekly team stand-up or an elaborate training seminar for clients, nobody likes an over-running schedule - least of all the busy people in your meeting. Business reporter Stephanie Vozza shares how one company keeps their meetings prompt: "The staff at Tripping.com set a stopwatch for 30 minutes at the beginning of each meeting to maximize everyone’s time. If the meeting goes longer, the person who called the meeting must throw $5 in the team beer jar."
Meetings, just like business, need structure. They need purpose. Therefore ensure that the person who called the meeting is the right person to drive it forwards. If he or she is likely to wander off topic or lapse into long irrelevant monologues, enlist the help of a moderator to ensure the meeting stays on point and on schedule (and keep the team beer jar handy, too).
Switch Things Up
Regular meetings can soon become stale and unmemorable. If you have a recurring meeting in your calendar, why not switch things up occasionally? For instance, surprise your attendees by inviting a guest speaker, or change your scenery by holding the meeting outside on the roof terrace. Even the smallest changes to content or setting can have a significant impact on the outcome of your meeting, making it more enjoyable and ultimately, more memorable.
Always, Always Follow Up
It goes without saying that every meeting should be concluded with a set of actions, deadlines, and those who are accountable for each objective. On top of that, it's good practice to round up your meeting by asking attendees if they enjoyed it and whether they found it worthwhile. If not, why not? How can the next meeting be improved? What would they like you to do differently? Given that 67% of meetings are deemed failures, this vital feedback can improve your next meeting structure and ensure that in future, whilst minutes are kept, no more hours are lost.
Share your advice for memorable meetings by leaving a comment below or joining the conversation on Twitter #LandmarkMeetings.