Let’s be honest: no one likes meetings. Generally, we find meetings to be unproductive wastes of time, which we put up with because they’re mandatory, and because sometimes you get a bagel for coming.
For this reason, companies are seeking ways to revolutionize how we conduct meetings so they are more effective. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, for instance, banned PowerPoints from meetings. From his perspectives, this staple of office culture isn’t useful in transmitting information because most people zone out during presentations. Few presenters use PowerPoints in a way that motivates an audience to pay attention since they mostly repeat the text already on screen.
In place of PowerPoints, Bezos instituted “narrative memos.” These are documents that everyone silently reads at the start of a meeting that overviews the purpose of the meeting. After the quiet reading time, the presenter takes questions, and the session progresses organically.
Doing away with boring PowerPoints is one way to revamp your meeting format. There are other strategies. Here are three key areas where you can start improving meetings so they actually help strengthen your dealership, rather than act as the company joke.
#1: Time and Number
One of the things that makes meetings dreaded by employees is how long they are and how often they occur. The average office meeting runs well over an hour. The average employee loses interest after twenty minutes. Add to that most companies can have upwards of sixty staff meetings a month, and you have the perfect storm of awful.
Make meetings more efficient by limiting how many you have a month, and setting time limits on how long they’re allowed to run. If employees know that the meeting will only last a half hour or forty-five minutes, they’ll be able to pay attention better. And if you know you only have five meeting opportunities to present information you’ll automatically find ways to concisely and transmit that information during meetings.
#2: Get it in Writing
Another strategy for boosting meeting productivity is to utilize writing. This should be done in two ways. The first is to create a memo beforehand that helps guide the meeting. Similar to Amazon’s narrative memos, make sure the note you hand out covers main points or ideas that you would like to discuss. By doing this, you’ll be injecting more planning and structure to the meetings. Additionally, employees will able to follow the agenda, stay on target and have a document afterward that can remind them of key points discussed.
Additionally, at the end of the meeting, have your staff fill out ‘Exit Slips”. These are papers in which they write two or three takeaways from the conference on one side, and two or three questions they still have on the other. By doing this, you’ll be able to see what were the most successful aspects of the meeting and what could have been clearer. This instant feedback will allow you to refine your meeting techniques, as well as pinpoint potential areas that need addressing.
#3: Efficient Follow-up
Finally, one of the significant areas of frustration for meeting attendees is that they feel as though nothing has been accomplished. It’s hard to get fired up and focused for a two-hour sales staff meeting if you feel like nothing happens as a result.
Make meetings meaningful by actively demonstrating their worth. After a meeting, go over the things discussed and make sure that anything that needs to be implemented starts moving. Then follow-up with memos or short announcements where you highlight the changes. By seeing that meetings actually serve a purpose and get things done, your employees will be more receptive to having them, as they won’t feel like pointless productivity drains.