How to have better meetings

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Meetings at work are the last thing most of us look forward to. They may be dull but they are the lifeblood of many organisations, helping people at all levels answer the big and small questions that drive the wider company forward.

The vast majority of organisations are guilty of facilitating boring meetings. When designing meetings however you don’t have to follow predictable patterns. Instead you can keep engagement high to unlock a world of opportunity for the organisation. Read on, to discover our tips for bringing meetings to life.

Add the social element

Meetings aren’t solely about discussing the topics that are integral to the progression of a business. They should be designed with employees in mind.

Humans are hardwired to be social beings, and it’s a well-known fact that people need other people to succeed. In the workplace, this urge to cooperate, care and even compete comes naturally to most.

As public speaker and Forbes regular Nick Morgan recently explained, this primal urge should be acknowledged and embraced by the speakers and leaders hosting meetings.

By playing on the human urge to be in good company, you can make your meeting less of a presentation and more of a conversation. By socialising together, a team can create collectively so give them the setting to do just that.

Encourage motion

There’s nothing worse for creativity than being pinned to your chair. Give the people attending your meeting the freedom to move around. Increased movement inspires the emotion and fun that leads to better engagement.

In addition to physical movement, facilitate the mental moving space needed to enhance ingenuity further. Put away that PowerPoint presentation, push that flip chart to one side and leave the instruction manuals in the box. Let your team establish their own talking points, and contribute freely.

Movement can also have a direct impact on the cognitive function of attendees as Laura Putnam, CEO of Motion Infusion, details:

“Movement brings more blood to the brain, which means more oxygen for our brain cells. More motion helps to increase the connections, or synapses, between brain cells. Perhaps most exciting, physical activity actually generates new brain cells. The upshot: When we move, we’re better problem-solvers.”

Here at Creative Facilitation, we use a number of simple methods to bring open space and thought to meetings. Our café processes allow for deeper connection and conversation, whilst the full circle quickens the delivery of feedback.

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In addition, lining up individuals is another way to encourage movement whilst discovering so much more about the thoughts and feelings of others when discussing different topics. Standing, walking and stretching all count too.

With movement you can bring scenarios to life in three dimensions. This playful approach isn’t just handy for tackling simple situations but is useful for the resolution of more serious matters.

Stay present

Reading from a script to conduct a meeting is common practice amongst many leaders and speakers. Scripts give them the confidence they need to tackle topics and insert authority - yet resisting the urge to perform is the key to delivering better, more productive meetings.

Stay present, be spontaneous and show vulnerability to ensure you can bring a meeting and the subject matter at its centre to life. By going ‘off script’ you can have a presence without showing off or positioning yourself as the centre of attention. You can also profit from the surprises that spontaneity makes possible.