Meetings are one of the most powerful communication tools in companies. However, if not managed correctly, they can have serious negative consequences. Managers have to be skilled to run effective meetings. The right preparation is essential, but how to make a meeting engaging and participative?
How many times were you falling asleep during a super boring, useless meeting? How many coffees do you need to make your eyes stay open in a meeting session?
Without strong participation from all stakeholder groups and participants, meetings are ineffective, they fail to reach their aims, becoming a waste of time and opportunities. Nowadays, technology allows us to have physical, but also virtual and online meetings (Read the blog Microsoft Teams and Smarter Meetings to have an example of how to hold online meetings using Microsoft teams). This brings even more challenges on how to make online meetings also participatory and involving.
How to overcome these challenges?
1.Invite the right people
When you hold a meeting, you should be aware of the right aims of that meeting. Based on that, you should definitely invite the right people (and most importantly only who are really interested in that topic or involved in that project). Inviting everyone is not going to be a smart decision. People that are not related to the topic of the meeting will not be interested in following the session. The result? A passive and disinterested audience that will impact negatively the whole meeting.
When you have invited the right people, you should make sure that everyone can attend and participate in the meeting. Although there are a number of ways to improve participation, it’s important to understand why you need to make your meetings accessible and inclusive to all. Providing the right devices and trainings on how to use them is a fundamental task. It is not only about the tools to use for an online meeting. It is also about making sure that every employees or participant know how to use Skype or Microsoft Teams for an online meeting. With online meetings you allow people in different countries or places to join the meeting at the same time, without being in the meeting room with you.
3. Prepare the right material
Now every participant has access to the meeting. But not everyone is ready. Sharing with your team some preparatory material, like the program of the meeting, the main aims or points of discussions, a pdf or ppt is a good idea to get everyone on board. This step will also boost productivity. If everyone is prepared and know what to expect, the brainstorming, decision making and problem solving process can be very smooth.
4. Be a good performer
You are holding the meeting. Good. But if you want your audience to be active, you have to be an active and engaging performer too. Try to engage your audience. There are infinite ways of doing it: ask questions, catch the attention of everyone, use the right tone of the voice, including videos or funny memes, but most importantly, COLLABORATE. The opinions of everyone counts and you have to make space for them. Do not behave like a presenter, because a presentation is a different from an active and engaging meeting.
5. Ask for feedback
At the end of the meeting, take some time to ask for direct feedback from your audience. They can tell you the tops and flops of the session, but also make suggestions on how to improve the engagement rate and involvement for the next meetings.
Holding smarter and more engaging meetings can bring a lot of benefits to your organization, in terms of productivity and efficiency. Download our whitepaper Smarter Meetings if you want to know more about how to hold smarter meetings in your organization.