Managing Meetings Training

Learn how to conduct a meeting, with this practical course

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Meeting coffee break

Managing Meeting Energy

1. Minimise the meeting time

Use advanced preparation and briefing of participants; starting and finishing the meeting on time. Keeping meetings to one hour is good practice unless you have other issues to consider, such as travel time.

2. Plan sequence of agenda items

Aim to bring a balance to the nature of the topic and method of communication e.g. presentation, discussion. Schedule the most important agenda items towards the start of the meeting, when most participants’ energy levels are likely to be at their highest.

3. Invite meeting participants at the right time slot

Ensure that attendees only need attend the meeting for the crucial time where they will be contributing, avoiding wasted ‘down time’. Also consider which time of day will be the best time for participants bearing in mind their natural ‘body clock’, personal caring commitments, working patterns and potential medication needs.

4. Provide healthy, low carbohydrates refreshments where appropriate

Consider fresh fruit and water as heavy, sugary foods and caffeine can reduce participants’ energy levels quite quickly, after a few minutes of digestion.

5. Create an inviting meeting environment

Choose a room that has natural day light, space to move around and is comfortable, but not too relaxing chairs. Minimise the distractions such as noise, high levels of traffic, or interruptions.

6. Ensure participants are introduced to one another at the start of the meeting

This avoids wasted energy being spent by participants, who may wonder whom everyone is and how they fit into the meeting group dynamics.

7. Provide regular breaks

Use breaks in line with the participant energy levels. Normal coffee/tea breaks should be scheduled, but consideration for a quick stretch break of 5 minutes for example will help, as well as any form of movement. If in doubt, ask the meeting participants if they are in need of a break.

8. Use a variety of group working methods

Consider using ’round robin’, paired or small group working, along with the use of the flipchart to develop fresh ideas, focus the group, increase contributions and gain recommendations or decisions. Use a pre-agreed ‘car park’ to log participant suggestions, action points and ideas that are important, but potentially detract from the current agenda topic item.

9. Rotate meeting roles

Rotate the chair for team meetings, as well as presenters and contributors throughout the meeting for variety and change of voice.

10. Re-focus the group

Use summaries or questions such as ‘can anyone summarise where we are?’ If the group are debating an item for too long and the energy levels are low; or change your voice tone to inject new enthusiasm and energy to a topic.

About the Author

Kim Larkins, MCIPD is Company Founder of KSL Training. Kim has 30 years training and HR management experience in the Retail, Hospitality and Pharmaceutical industry.

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