People spend an astonishing amount of time in meetings. A 2013 study from the UK found that people spend an average of 16 hours per week in meetings. What’s more, study respondents said that around one-quarter of this time was wasted. There are several basic techniques that set the stage for productive meetings that don’t waste participants’ time. Having an agenda, preparing beforehand, sticking to schedule and following up are all tried and true strategies.
But what are some other ingredients of good meetings? In some cases, there are specific products, from hand-outs to SMART boards, which make meetings engaging and efficient. However, some “products” for great meetings aren’t necessarily tangible, yet make the difference between a stimulating, productive gathering and just another boring meeting that will soon be forgotten. Here are 5 products – tangible and intangible – that can improve your meetings.
1. A DIFFERENT SETTING
Chances are, your business has one or more standard conference rooms that are the default locations for meetings, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, however, having a meeting somewhere else can shake people out of their complacency and bring a fresh perspective. Richard Branson, of the UK’s Virgin Group, holds meetings in unorthodox locations, for example. You probably don’t have your own island available for this purpose, but there are other options: a park or a café, perhaps. And some companies find occasional “walking meetings” beneficial.
2. ATTENTION TO YOUNGER EMPLOYEES
Younger, newer employees may be hesitant to speak up in meetings, particularly when more established players have traditionally set the tone. In many industries, however, those young voices are valuable. Younger workers often have an ear to the ground as far as trends and new technologies. Many younger people joined a particular company because an idealistic take on the industry. Furthermore, newer people may not have had their opinions clouded by “the way it’s always been done” and can bring a fresh outlook to meetings.
There are sometimes occasions for meetings where humour is not appropriate, when, for example, a difficult fiscal situation arises or a personal tragedy befalls someone in the company. However, there is a place for levity in most ordinary business meetings. In fact, a study by American and Dutch researchers found that humour in meetings can actually improve productivity. The key to successful humour in meetings is group rapport that everyone can share. Inside jokes, in other words, aren’t helpful. Warming up the entire room and helping everyone loosen up from the beginning helps meetings get off to a positive start.
4. MODULAR FURNITURE IN BRIGHT COLOURS
Face it: most meeting room furniture is functional, but boring. But who says the only way to have a meeting is for everyone to sit around a giant conference table in stiff chairs? You can get modular conference furniture that can be rearranged and fit together in countless ways to suit the group. And there’s nothing that says dark wood finishes are the only way to go with conference furniture. Jewel colours and primary colours, particularly reds and oranges, can wake up a tired meeting room whilst keeping minds stimulated and engaged.
5. RELIABLE TECHNOLOGY
Knowing that your technology won’t let you down means having one less thing to worry about when preparing for a meeting. Not every meeting needs every technology, but most businesses need a basic suite of meeting tech that includes a SMART board, a high quality projector and video conferencing technology. Visual engagement is essential to successful presentations, so it’s important that your projector, for example, makes those PowerPoint decks you worked so hard on look great. Video conferencing technology is another smart investment many businesses make, because it allows companies to save on travel whilst still having face-to-face interaction. Lock down great meeting technology, and you set the stage for a successful meeting.
Meetings are a fact of life, but nobody wants the time spent in meetings to be wasteful. Making the most of business meetings sometimes means doing things differently, lightening up, listening to everyone with a valid point to make and using technology in innovative ways. Canon makes a range of office automation and meeting technology that can ensure your meetings provide beautiful, clear documents and that presenters have the technology they need to inform, engage and stimulate productive conversations.
At Canon Business Solutions, you will find clever equipment as well as clever thinking from our people. We have solutions from printing and copying to connecting your branches, educating and sharing. These include multi-function printers, SMART Boards, projectors, video conferencing solutions, network security cameras and 3D printers. When it comes to office technology we have you covered.
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