The Psychology of Perfect Meetings
It’s Monday and you’re stuck in traffic worrying that you might miss your mandatory Monday morning meeting at the office. This is a common story told around the world. For the past century, meetings have essentially defined our work culture. Interviewing for a new job? There’s a meeting for that. Need to review your work with the marketing team? There’s a meeting for that. 90-day employee review? You guessed it, there’s a meeting for that. Quite frankly, the list goes on and on.
The fact is, no matter how you feel about them, meetings are a necessary part of a successful business. When done properly, meetings provide a productive place for collaboration, problem-solving and new ideas that ultimately propel your company forward. But how do we perfect our meetings so we overcome the stereotypical “I survived another meeting that could have been an email” slogan? That’s where things get tricky. Keep reading to learn how to create, implement and execute the perfect meeting(s) for your organization.
Why do we attend meetings in the first place?
First and foremost, it’s important to note why we attend meetings, to begin with. There are many reasons why people attend meetings including:
- Gaining new information on something occurring in the company
- Expressing concern about issues and situations
- Making complex client decisions
- Fulfilling regular job requirements
- Reviewing your work with a supervisor
And so on, and so forth.
When should you schedule a meeting?
To change the stereotype around meetings, we first need to define what constitutes even holding a meeting. As a business owner, team leader, or supervisor always ask yourself a few simple questions before booking a meeting.
- Why are you holding the meeting?
- Do you have a clear and identifiable reason for the meeting?
- What’s your plan of action for the meeting?
- Are you prepared to execute the plan of action during the meeting?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no” then you’re probably better off sticking to slack and email for whatever you wanted to discuss. Every meeting should have a clear goal and objective outlined ahead of time— otherwise people begin to feel like their time was wasted and half the meeting is spent talking about what everyone ate for dinner last night. Clear, defined objectives is key for creating structure around your meetings.
How to improve your meetings
Improving meetings isn’t as difficult as it seems. According to PsychologicalScience.org, employees average 6 hours per week in meetings and managers average 23+ hours in them. When you analyze those numbers, that’s an extensive amount of time spent in meetings. Improving the efficiency of your meetings will positively benefit everyone in your organization.
Start with a few basic steps to improve your meetings:
- Send out an agenda about the meeting ahead of time. This ensures everyone is on the same page and time won’t be wasted.
- Encourage collaboration and contribution. Make everyone feel welcomed to share their ideas and thoughts.
- Keep all discussions as focused as possible. Avoid gossip and talk that is better suited for happy hour.
- Ask for feedback. After the meeting, send out surveys about the structure of the meeting. Or simply ask people for feedback so that your organization can continue to improve its meetings.
- Provide refreshments or coffee for the invitees. Offering something like this has a positive effect on everyone in the room.
How to analyze behavior in your meetings
If you’re unsure if your meetings are being well received by the attendees, there’s a few things you can analyze to get a clearer picture.
As a leader or someone holding the meeting, be on the lookout for a few of the things listed below.
- Eye contact. A lack of eye contact usually indicates a level of unease. During your meetings, everyone should have eye contact with each other.
- Posture. Poor posture often indicates boredom.
- Excessive fidgeting or nervous habits. This could mean people are nervous, bored or frustrated with what’s being discussed. Keep an eye on these behaviors, but never address them during the meeting.
- Yawning. Yawning can be more than just being tired from a lack of sleep. If a person is facing a super tedious task, they can often feel overwhelmed which psychologically results in tiredness.
If a number of these things are going on during your meetings, it could be a telling sign that people aren’t engaged and/or attentive. However, you should address these concerns in private and never bring them up individually during the meeting(s).
When in doubt, use technology to perfect your meetings
It’s 2019, and technology is at the forefront of most businesses. At NFS, we’re committed to breaking down the stereotypical meeting culture and improving the way we create and execute meetings across the board. However, it’s getting tough to manually manage the entire process start-to-finish. That’s where technology comes into play.
Our software, Rendezvous, is a world-leading software solution that helps your organization transform the way it manages meetings rooms, desks, and workspaces – as well as services like catering and AV. To truly perfect your meetings, we believe you need technology that integrates with your organization in more ways than one. To learn more about how we can help perfect your meetings, visit https://myrendezvous.net/.
Natalie Appleton is Vice President, Americas and is a specialist in helping companies to efficiently manage their space and resources. With a background in providing consultancy and technology solutions to a wealth of major law firms and Fortune 500 companies she is uniquely placed to offer expert commentary on workspace issues and create best practices.