Are you looking for ways to keep your employees engaged during meetings?
There are few things as common as boring, unproductive business meetings. Often they serve little purpose and end up failing to accomplish anything.
If you want to have better meetings with your team, you need to think about how you can facilitate better presentations. If you do this, not only will you be able to keep your staff engaged for longer, you will also get more out of each of your meetings.
Here are several practical suggestions for holding better employee meetings.
Think & Plan
The best meetings are those with a clear objective. Before organizing a meeting, take some time to understand why you are meeting. Carefully consider what you want to accomplish, and put together a game plan for how you are going to get the results you are after. Think about how you can make the meeting flow and transition from one topic to another.
For example, are you getting your team together for updated training? If so, will the training require any prior preparation from employees? Giving your team the plan in advance will also encourage deeper participation and engagement.
Make A Good First Impression
It’s always important to know your audience. Think about how you can capture the attention of your employees upfront. An uninteresting opening statement is usually indicative of a meeting that will exhibit the same characteristics. A weak beginning doesn’t bode well for the remainder of your time together. Consider opening the meeting with a rhetorical question, performance highlights, or facts about the business.
Infuse your opening line with passion. Use humor, or sternness or another engaging delivery style to grab the attention of your staff.
Use stories to illustrate your most important points. While data can be used to support your convictions, there aren’t many people that get overly excited about numbers. An intriguing, relatable story will draw people in and help to drive your message home.
Storytelling can also be used as a tool for persuasion. If you can find and relate examples from your own life, that would be ideal, but second-hand stories can also be effective. Storytelling doesn’t need to be one directional either. When you encourage employees to participate and share their own relevant stories, you’ll find that your team is more engaged and attentive.
Even if you are the facilitator of the meeting, don’t forget to take the time to listen. Your staff members may require clarification on certain issues, they may have relevant questions to ask, and they may even have valuable suggestions to make.
If there isn’t an opportunity for others to speak, then there’s no point in having a meeting at all. However, remember to have ground rules or put a structure in place for the discussions that take place. Otherwise, you may unwittingly spend too much time on unimportant subjects.
The best rule here is to pause for 5-7 seconds after asking a question. I’d even encourage you to count the seconds in your head. It’s common that most people hesitate to be the first to speak up, but once you provide enough pause, you may see a better increase in participation.
Ask questions, role-play, brainstorm, or find other ways to encourage interaction among your employees. This will not only give them a sense of involvement, it will also help them to re-engage if they have started to disconnect.
Meetings can start to drag in the middle, so think about how you can keep things flowing in advance. Look for ways to involve your staff. Plan your interaction periods ahead of time by setting a start and stop time to keep the meeting moving forward.
Take Breaks As Necessary
For longer presentations, it’s important to keep your employees engaged. Attention spans can be limited, even among the most attentive individuals.
Additionally, think about how you can break up the presentation into sections to keep it interesting. For example, if you don’t use any charts or visuals for the first half of the presentation, consider using these elements in the latter half.
Plan to provide refreshments if your meeting is scheduled to go beyond one hour. The glucose levels in the brain begin to drop after 60 minutes and light refreshments keep our minds refueled.
Focus On The Results
Your meetings are not as effective as they could be if they fail to resolve relevant issues. Have a clear purpose for each gathering, and look for a desired outcome. Remember to focus on the results, and report on what was accomplished through each meeting. This will let everyone know that important business matters are addressed and covered in your meetings, and that valuable results were achieved as result.
End On A High Note
At the end of your meeting, you want to see your employees energized and happy that they attended. Consider ending with an employee highlight or award, a raffle drawing, or concrete follow up steps for all those in attendance. Consider handing out evaluation forms to solicit feedback from your team. Letting them know you are committed to improving the experience will go far.
Did you find these tips helpful? Do you have any other tips for small business owners on how to create better presentations for employees? Please leave a comment or question below.