5 Simple Ways To Host Badass Meetings People Want To Be In

Corporate meetings can be stressful. Modern workers are inundated with emails, tasks, social media, RSS feeds, and more every day. The last thing they want to do is be ripped away from those tasks for a meeting about TPS Report cover sheets. But what if you're the person holding the meeting? Whatever you've got to say is probably important. But you know how you dial out at meetings. So how do you capture your colleagues' attention and instigate positive change? You've got to make your meetings feel like special events. Here are 5 ways to transform dull, uninspired sit downs...

1. ALWAYS have a singular purpose

Pete Seeger once famously said “Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.” Conventional wisdom says that we're the multitasking generation and that it makes us efficient; but in reality chronic multitaskers are abysmal at all the concurrent tasks they take on. There is a common desire to try and fit everything on your plate into one meeting. People don't like meetings, so better to get it all over at once right? Only if you want those in attendance to immediately pull out their phones and retain nothing. Instead, always have one goal in mind, or at the most one goal per department in attendance.

2. Schedule an end time and never miss it

Constraints breed creativity. In an era of almost unlimited access to information and ideas, putting a box around any task allows us to keep our focus on it. No one wants to think of your meetings as the ones that constantly run 30 minutes late. Imply importance and consistency for your content by being consistent yourself. By placing a solid end time on your meeting, you discourage rambling, off-topic and useless conversation. Chris Liddell, former CFO of General Motors in its heyday, said it best: "I don't have a tolerance for long meetings. I generally expect to get things over with quickly."

3. You can do better than calling them "meetings"

Even the word sends a shudder down the spines of potential attendees. Pop culture has done enough to disparage "meetings," and history has proven that the name of something is everything. So why not take pop culture and turn it right on its head? Got a meeting about competitive strategy? Call it a War Room. Meeting about general ideas? Call it a Brain Storm. The mere act of gathering people in a specific place at a specific time implies it's a meeting. Get creative and make your attendees feel like they're part of something special.

4. Don't invite people you'll bore

Google VP of Business Operations Kristen Gil encourages a very strict limit on the number of people in a meeting. “Attending meetings isn’t a badge of honor." Not everyone wants to hear what you have to say or read what you have to write. So if that person isn't going to get anything out of what you have to say--don't invite them! 37Signals, creators of the industry-standard project management software Basecamp, has a similar viewpoint. In the company's best-selling book Rework, they urge workers to remember that “every minute you avoid spending in a meeting is a minute you can get real work done instead.”

5. Inject some theatre into your meeting

There's a reason people universally loved Steve Jobs' Apple keynotes. The man was a veritable master of taking complex concepts, simplifying them, then making them magical. If you want the information you share to stick and turn into actionable change, make it connect more with peoples' minds. It isn't enough to share information. You've got to sell the benefits. If you exude passion and enthusiasm about what you're sharing, your people will naturally feel the same. And sometimes it doesn't have to be you. Richard Branson, thought leader and Virgin founder, suggests a change of speaker or venue is "a real treat and something out of the ordinary to reflect what was a great meeting of minds. A little thinking outside the box goes a long way in my view."

At the end of your meetings, everyone should leave with a feeling of satisfaction and a clear direction of how to move forward. Have other ideas for how a meeting can excel? Share them in the comments!


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