It’s an unfortunate fact of working life that some meetings are less riveting than others. We’ve all found ourselves feeling trapped in a tedious, seemingly endless meeting when we have a long list of tasks we need to get back to, which is especially frustrating when the discussion relevant to us has ended.
But rather than seeing a meeting simply as a boring obstacle to getting on with work, it helps to see the opportunities it can offer. Next time you find yourself in a meeting you’d rather not be in, resist the temptation to doodle or plan your next meal, instead draw on our tips for making meetings productive, not painful.
Know the agenda
You can’t gain anything from a meeting if you don’t know what it is about. Make sure you have a copy of the agenda in plenty of time ahead of the meeting, and if you’re the one responsible, that everyone else does to.
Familiarise yourself with the points for discussion and make note of any questions you need answering or decisions you want to be made. Having a set of objectives you want to achieve will help keep you focused.
Switch things up
Many meetings, particularly regularly weekly or monthly ones, follow the same order of proceedings every time, creating predictable lulls in which people find it all too easy to tune out.
Avoid this by suggesting a change to the order of talking points, for example, starting with the most interesting or contentious subject rather than with a review of the previous meeting’s minutes. This will hopefully get everyone involved in a lively discussion straight off the bat, instead of switching off.
Take a stand
Take our last suggestion one step further and try a standing meeting. This type of meeting is really only suitable for short periods of time but if you want to speed up proceedings, this can be a great tactic.
Or to really shake things up, propose everyone in the meeting moves one seat to their left every five minutes. Although this approach risks messy paperwork and spilt drinks, it’s sure to keep everyone awake!
Make a name for yourself
It’s not always possible to change the structure or direction of a meeting, but there are other ways to make a dull meeting work in your favour, even if the topics don’t involve you.
Meetings can be a great opportunity to interact with others in your company who you may not often see face to face, especially if yours is a large organisation. In this case, many of your colleagues may not really have any idea about you or what you do, and vice versa, so taking an active role in the meeting can be a way to do some potentially valuable cross-departmental networking.
Pick up body language cues
Another beneficial activity you can use in a meeting is to observe your colleagues for body language cues that can tell you more about what they’re thinking. For example, crossed arms can indicate that person is closed off to what’s being said, while a tilted head can suggest receptiveness to the discussion, as they are subconsciously exposing the vulnerable neck area.
Everyone has their own physical habits and quirks, but recognising these in your colleagues can help you read between the lines when debating best practice or looking for a solution to a problem. A better understanding of those you work with can only improve your professional relationships.
Find a fantastic meeting venue
Finally, it has to be said that holding your meeting in a beautiful, comfortable and well-equipped venue is one of the best ways to ensure the participants stay engaged. For important or lengthy meetings, team building sessions and conferences, getting out of the office and into a neutral space is a must.
When you hold your meeting at The Brewery you’ll be able to choose from six stunning meeting and conference rooms of various size and level of functionality. All of our meeting spaces come with high-speed Wi-Fi and a built-in DB audio PA system, as well as premium tableware and customisable electronic signage.
With the option to add delicious bespoke food and drink and audio-visual support through one dedicated point of contact, The Brewery can offer an historic central London meeting venue like no other.
If you’re planning an business meeting or conference, take a look at our conferences and meetings pages or talk to us today about how we can make it the best yet at The Brewery.