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The Secrets of Better Business Meetings in five Easy Steps

Are many meetings really productive?

Let's be honest. Very few employees enjoy having them as they can often be a waste of time, and research by Bain and Company shows that most people consider meetings to be unproductive and unnecessary. They can be time-consuming, tedious, and they can distract us from getting on with the important stuff at work. Why can't most problems be sorted out in an email or a WhatsApp group? While there's no doubt we probably do need to cut down on the number of meetings in the workplace, sometimes a face-to-face sitdown is necessary.

So, before you book that conference room read on for a few tips on how to make your sessions fresher and more inspiring.

1. Choose attendees carefully!

Have a careful think about who needs to be there and draft your list of attendees accordingly. Do you really need everyone on your list to attend? Try not to waste other's people's time, and anyway, if the numbers are too high, you'll end up diluting your discussion. When you involve colleagues unnecessarily, it's easy to digress and also more challenging to build consensus with a large group.

Psychologists say fewer people speak out in large groups of people. So, instead of sharing their thoughts and giving feedback, many people will just go along with ideas to not rock the boat.

And anyway, you can always ask attendees to share information with their team members and colleagues, meaning people who don't need to attend in person are free to get on with being productive outside the meeting.

2. Stick to an agenda

An agenda is a plan, and if you don't have a plan, you'll probably digress from what's essential, and the meeting will likely overrun.

Put together and send out an agenda before the meeting starts and keep the following in mind:

Choose a timekeeper, allot a time for each point on your agenda, and make sure you stick to it! You should also send the agenda out before the meeting so that people have time to prepare.

3. Tell stories

Storytelling is a much more powerful technique than simply relating facts. It activates parts of our brains that allow us to experience the story ourselves just as if we were part of it. The London School of Business reports that people retain only about 5-10% of the statistics they hear. Use an image, and people remember about 25%. But, when you use statistics presented with a story, retention rates jump as high as 70%.

4. Change the scenery

Having that regular as clockwork weekly meeting in the same tired old conference room can be both predictable and boring. So keep things fresh and change location or venue. Why not head down to the park or the local cafe for a meeting? Bring your team together in new surroundings, and you might notice more creativity and enthusiasm.

Steve Jobs loved having walking meetings- which is great when the discussion is one-on-one or includes only a few individuals.

5. Stand

If changing the scenery isn't an option, you can always try standing rather than sitting.

Psychologists argue that stand-up meetings keep participants more engaged (stopping people from falling asleep or switching off) and focused and improve productivity.

Ultimately, it's all about valuing other people's time, only calling meetings when necessary and keeping the format fresh, while making these sessions more efficient and effective. More productive meetings means happy and motivated employees.

For more information on business meeting courses in English and a free speaking test, contact Anthony at BBLC today (

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