Meetings are a part of business life. They’re not a particularly enjoyable part of business life, but they’re a necessity. When it comes to managing meetings in your business, you’re naturally going to want these regular events to pass by with as few problems as possible.
The problem is… your staff. You love them, they’re the lifeblood of your business… but sometimes, keeping the attention of your employees during an important meeting is like trying to herd cats. You might even remember being an employee and how your mind tended to wander during meetings; now you can see your employees going through the same thing.
Below, you will find four tricks that can help to ensure your staff’s attention is focused where it matters during meetings.
#1 – Watch Your Timing
Meetings that drone on, and on, and on… they’re not a good idea. If you have got multiple topics to cover, then it’s better to break meetings down into smaller chunks. As a general rule, you have got a maximum of 30 minutes before your employees will begin to think more about what they’re having for lunch than the words you’re speaking.
After a half hour, break for five minutes. This gives your staff the chance to go to the restroom, clear their thoughts, check their email. When they come back, you’ll be able to begin again with freshly invigorated employees.
#2 – Take Questions
The best way to see if your employees are paying attention is to encourage them to ask questions. Before you switch topics, request that everyone ask at least one, simple question or make an observation based on what has been being discussed.
#3 – Stay On Topic
It can be tempting, when leading a meeting, to get diverted. You’re talking about the supply chain, someone mentions a staffing issue, and boom — everyone is off topic, and you’ll lose track of what you were trying to say. Use visual guides to help you keep on topic; switch slides or find laser pointers online that you can buy and introduce into your boardroom. These techniques and aids help to ensure everyone is looking in the same direction and thinking the same thoughts. If an employee has an unrelated question, ask they write it down to be dealt with at the end of the meeting.
#4 – Eliminate Distractions
Finally, it’s pretty much essential that you request all staff keep their cellphones out of sight when you’re in a meeting. The alternative is to ask everyone place their phones in the center of the table; this means there’s no sneaking-a-peek beneath the desk! This might not be a popular move, but unless cellphones are essential to what’s being discussed, it’s a necessary step in the battle for employee attention.
Meetings might not be the favorite part of your day, but you can at least make them as productive as possible. Run through the steps above and you’ll have a more engaged staff, which will inevitably result in a more productive business. Enjoy your newly improved meetings — well, as much as you can, anyway!