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Creative ways to make your team meetings productive

Use this tips to keep your team focussed, energised, and on target. By Priya Prakasan

Meetings tend to waste a great deal of time and the cost of an interrupted workflow is not good for any business. But when done right, team meetings can produce new ideas and accelerate projects. Here are some creative ways to get the ball rolling.

1. No-laptop rule
Studies have shown note-taking habits can affect the understanding and retention of information. Often people take notes on their laptop during meetings. But it has been observed that those who take notes by hand do significantly better when it comes to conceptual recalling the data when compared to those who take notes on a laptop. So consider ditching the laptop and take notes the old fashioned way. Doing so will also help you focus better on the meeting as you won’t be distracted by emails, notifications, and the temptation to get some work done.

2. Try a stand-up meeting
A stand-up meeting is one where attendees typically participate in the meeting while standing. This is another way to keep meetings short and it is fast becoming a popular trend. Also, it is a known fact that standing increases blood flow and therefore oxygen to the brain, which means it leads to more dynamic neural-synapses and therefore better outcomes. We suggest you try a stand-up meeting for one that’s time-boxed up to 15 minutes. Keep chairs for full-fledged discussions.

3. Let others take the lead
It is not always necessary for senior leaders to lead meetings. Consider asking a junior team member to facilitate the meeting in order to bring a different perspective and working style to the table. This will prevent monotony and also encourage everyone to participate. In a typical meeting format with a senior leader holding court, some might be wary of speaking up or feel discouraged when an eloquent team member takes charge of the conversation. By rotating the meeting lead position you are promoting equality and setting the stage for more productive meetings.

4. Try a Pomodoro Timer
The Pomodoro Technique is a useful tool to help improve productivity in team meetings. It was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s and involves the use of a timer. Work is broken up in to 25-minute periods, which are followed by short breaks. This helps improve concentration on a single task, plus aids in time management. So try incorporating this technique in your meetings. This way you’re keeping yourself accountable to a set meeting length, improving the productivity of your team and reducing interruptions. Setting a timer will lead to a creative burst of energy and productivity level. The Pomodoro mode lets you get started right away with the default 25 minutes and work on the task until the timer rings. Though traditionally it is a technique for individual productivity, it can easily be modified for team meetings.

5. Brainstorm before the meeting
One of the most crucial steps for an effective meeting is to plan in advance and frame the right questions that will get people thinking and talking. That means you need to identify exactly why you’re holding the meeting. You have to be clear about the goal, what you will be communicating with the attendees and generate questions so as to stimulate everyone who is attending the meeting. By preparing beforehand you will find it easier to wade through the discussion, reflect on the same and come up with an action plan.

6. Ditch PowerPoint
Too often during meetings attendees are stuck listening to a presenter read out the data of an entire slideshow. It is boring and doesn’t build any engagement with the audience. The purpose is lost and the meeting a failure. Instead, consider communicating complex information through visual aids. There are a range of options available now that can communicate abstract, complex thinking. This way you will deliver quantitative details in an interesting manner that encourages engagement and recall. If you have to use PowerPoint, incorporate visuals as they’re a great tool for communication.

Photograph: Peoplecreations – Freepik.com 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz

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