According to the National Statistics Council, 37% of working time is spent on meetings, and 47% of employees believe that frequent meetings take up too much time - more than mail and social networks. What creative ways do companies use to keep business meetings boring?
Consider the unusual examples of 12 companies. How do they conduct business meetings?
1. Hold meetings so that they are remembered
- Schedule meetings at unusual times
Employees at TINYpulse, a software development company, rarely forget about appointments because management appoints them at unusual times. For example, a daily employee meeting begins at 8:48.
This approach has virtually eliminated lateness. This is surprising, but from the outside it looks like this: at 8:48 all the employees get up from their seats and go to the meeting room. An unusual time of meetings, as noted in the company, contributes to the development of a conditioned reflex.
Every Thursday, Plum Organics, the baby food manufacturer, distributes coloring books to its employees and holds a creative meeting, during which the staff draws and talks in a relaxed atmosphere. Innovation Director Jen Brush says this one-hour meeting plays an important role in developing new company products. “It has been proven that coloring during meetings develops active listening. It is much more efficient than multitasking or email, ”he said.
- Pull employees out of their comfort zone
The management of the software company LivePerson decided that meetings are a good opportunity for employees to get to know each other better. Using the technique of “connection before content”, leaders at the beginning of the meeting ask employees a question that forces them to leave their comfort zone. The question may be, for example, this: “Do you have any doubts about your current work?” This technique turned out to be so effective that the company shared it with its customers.
Josh Neblett, co-founder and CEO of Etailz, leaves the last ten minutes of each meeting with questions and answers. “All managers usually claim that the office has an open door policy. Of course, it sounds nice and raises your self-esteem, but if you do not encourage employees to really ask you questions, most of them are unlikely to take this chance, says Neblett. - The same logic applies to meetings. If no one asks anything, I just start to look closely at the employees until the first few questions appear. Questions always turn out to be very useful and relevant. Sometimes just a couple of minutes is enough for the dam to break through. ”
The company Genera Games, which creates mobile games, holds meetings on the basketball court. Employees can even play in the process of discussing some problems. “We try to make our meetings productive and fun,” says Daniel Entrenas, manager at Genera Games. “By dispersing the blood, we begin to think outside the box, ideas become more creative.”
2. Improve meeting efficiency
- Ping-pong rackets given to employees
Brivo, a security management software provider, makes meetings relevant with the No to Old Topics rule. Employees are signaling to each other that a topic has already been raised by raising a ping-pong racket that says “No to old topics”.
“I began to notice that we often discussed the same thing,” said Steve Van Thiel, president and CEO of the company, who introduced this rule. “A racket is a visual reminder, but more importantly, it gives all employees the opportunity to block counterproductive offers every time they arise.”
Today, Cvent employees are rarely late for meetings because the vice president introduced an unusual sentence. “At some point, most employees had the habit of being late for meetings by at least 10 minutes, which undermined the whole process,” he says. - Then I introduced the rule according to which the late should sing in front of the collective. We have already managed to listen to the anthem, and birthday greetings, and children's songs. This practice turned out to be very effective: today employees rarely sing. ”
- Charity Funding Rules Introduced
During meetings at Keller-Williams Realty, anyone with a telephone during the meeting must donate to a charity. Such a policy, according to management, minimizes the cases when, for some reason, the meeting is interrupted.
3. Make meetings short
- Introduce time-limiting technologies
The O3 World agency installed a technology called Roombot in the conference room. It alerts participants to a scheduled meeting, and also performs many other useful functions. In particular, at the end of the meeting, the light in the conference room begins to dim. In essence, Roombot structures the working calendar of commands and avoids overlays.
- Use a stopwatch and introduce a system of symbolic fines
The Tripping.com service team sets a stopwatch for 30 minutes at the beginning of each meeting, which allows you to maximize the use of the allocated time. If the meeting drags on, the person who gathered the staff should throw $ 5 in the corporate piggy bank.
Founder and CEO of Tripping.com, Jen O'Neill, said the principle of saving time has become key in the company's corporate culture: “It makes our meetings more productive,” she said.
Consulting firm Just Fearless also sets the time for meetings - usually 30 minutes. Moreover, if the meeting is delayed, chairs are taken from the employees. All the remaining time they have to communicate while standing. This method encourages not to delay meetings without a goal and a specific agenda. The rule applies everywhere - both in the office and in a public place. In the latter case, employees are especially punctual, because they do not want to attract the eyes of strangers.
The Buddytruk mobile app team meets in the mornings every Friday to discuss weekly work results. To prevent meetings from dragging out, the leadership introduced a funny rule: the last speaker should push 50 times. According to the leadership, at first it was just entertainment, but over time, tradition has become an integral part of corporate culture.
Business communication, business conversations, meetings, negotiations, discussions: as a form of business communication
Business communication should be distinguished from ordinary, as the former pursues a definite goal and has a strict ethics of behavior, while the latter may not have any ground or reason.
There are a lot of forms of business communication, the main ones are:
- business conversations - are the exchange (or one-way transmission) of information on specific issues of the functioning of the business. This can be direct communication or indirect (using Internet technology, telephony). This type of communication involves its continuation in the form of negotiations or meetings,
- meetings - a larger-scale form of communication, in which, as a rule, employees of the company (usually heads of structural divisions) are involved to solve strategic issues for business development,
- Negotiations - have a specific purpose and are aimed at discussing important issues, concluding agreements, contracts, signing important documents for both parties,
- discussions - an open discussion of important issues of the company, the main tool of which is the “brainstorming” (generation of ideas by all parties), which may result in non-standard approaches to solving problems.
In addition to these forms, there are a number of them: business interviews, disputes, meetings, correspondence, presentations, conferences. All of them have their own specifics, but meet the uniform rules of business ethics.
Business meetings: tasks, goals, topics
Business meetings are held in order to develop a specific solution to an urgent problem or task. In addition, at meetings, unit employees can share their ideas with management on the possible resolution of any issues. This form of communication allows you to comprehensively see the situation in the company, its strengths and weaknesses, helps new people to join the team, their familiarity with the corporate culture and the norms adopted in the organization.
The main goals and objectives of the meetings are:
- maintaining company policy, as well as its development and communication to all employees,
- integration of actions of all services and units in accordance with the strategic goal of the company,
- definition of new tasks and evaluation of the effectiveness of already implemented campaigns,
- solving emerging issues.
The topics that are present at meetings can be completely different.
In Russian practice, it is customary to hold meetings-planning meetings at least once a week. Thus, the department heads report on the work done during the week and set plans for the next (or receive tasks for implementation within the next working week).
An occasion or topic for an unscheduled meeting may be a number of issues that arise in connection with the dynamic and changing external environment in which companies work.
Types, types and classification of business meetings
Business meetings can be different in form, subject and people present.
Their main classification is presented below:
- by affiliation to a specific area: administrative meetings (to solve problematic issues), scientific (conferences, symposiums, seminars organized and conducted to solve pressing issues in the scientific field), political (congresses and meetings of members of certain political movements) and mixed types,
- in scale and number of participants: international (with the involvement of foreign partners, specialists, experts in a certain field), national, regional, city,
- at the location of the event: field and local meetings,
- Regularity: periodic, ongoing meetings.
In addition to the classification presented, meetings can be divided into problematic, operational and instructive.
Problematic meetings are aimed at finding the optimal solution to problems in a short time.
Operational (or they are also called dispatch) are aimed at obtaining data on the current position of the company. All information from subordinates is accumulated by the heads of units, and then transmitted to the chief manager of the organization. This data is about how much the plans were fulfilled, the goals achieved, the tasks solved. The main difference between such meetings and all others is their regularity, the constancy of the list of participants and the possible absence of a meeting agenda (that is, its detailed plan).
Instructive meetings are in reverse order unlike dispatching - all information in a directive format goes down from the head to the direct subordinates, and then it is transmitted vertically by the authority in the organization to specific executors of certain tasks. Such information includes executive orders that may affect the organization’s current work progress, new rules, codes of conduct, and the timing of specific tasks.
Preparation, organization and conduct of business meetings
In order for the meeting to be effective, it is necessary to carefully consider its main points: the purpose of the meeting, the main tasks, stages of the event. Only under these conditions can one benefit from the meeting.
Unfortunately, many of them are held only because it is customary in the business environment. Regular meetings and meetings at the beginning of the week with the leadership in many companies became commonplace and lost their meaning.
However, large companies that are striving to develop and gain large market shares approach this issue with great meticulousness:
- the list of participants is determined,
- for a long period, its agenda is developed, in which corrections are introduced over time,
- priority remains strategic tasks for which heads of departments report.
Stages and technologies of conducting a business meeting
Each meeting has two main stages: preparation and direct conduct.
At the first stage, the relevance of the event is determined, its goals and objectives are set, a list of participants is formed, reports and presentations are prepared in accordance with the agenda.
The second - directly according to the existing agenda, highlights issues in which all those present can participate. As a rule, the company’s management is the chairman of the meeting and sets the tone for it, grants the right to speech, ends the discussion if it has gone beyond the framework of a constructive discussion.
In addition to the main stages, a meeting may include a decision-making phase, if it involves solving a problem. This may occur through discussion or voting.
Business meeting plan example
Having a detailed plan of the meeting in hand, we can confidently know that it will be effective.
Such a plan may include:
- greeting word of the head - summing up the results for a certain time (quarter, month, week),
- coverage of the problem, justification of its relevance to the company,
- brainstorming organization to solve it,
- evaluation of all available options,
- accumulation of solutions to the problem,
- voting or other decision making option on the use of specific troubleshooting tools,
- determination of the boundaries of the solution of the problem: terms, responsible persons, methods.
During the meeting, it is important to fix its main points in order to be able to return to a particular issue and consider it in more detail.
Business meetings at exhibitions and congresses of the Expocenter
One of the effective means of promoting products is the holding of business meetings in the framework of exhibitions and congresses held at the Expocentre Fairgrounds. Business meetings of this format are somewhat different from others. If the management team of one enterprise gathers at a regular meeting, then during the exhibition any manufacturer has a unique opportunity to comprehensively solve the problems of the enterprise and invite all suppliers and distributors of products.
Specially equipped rooms for business negotiations, congress halls of the Expocentre Fairgrounds are designed for a different number of people. Therefore, there are no problems with the placement of all participants. With MatchMaking, you can pre-schedule a meeting. Presentation technology will make the meeting more eventful and complete.
Read our other articles:
Business correspondence by mail
Where and how to find customers
And who, in fact, participates in a business meeting?
To determine the composition for the upcoming business meeting, you need to skip all candidates through the following filters:
- Whose participation is simply necessary for the project?
- Who is needed to make important project decisions?
- Whose approval is necessary to continue work in this direction?
By answering these questions, you will not only decide who will take part in the business meeting, but whether the meeting is needed at all.
Then coordinate the time of the meeting with the free time schedules of all its participants.
The ability to organize a dialogue
The ability to organize a dialogue at a business meeting or a meeting with the participation of an intermediary is the exceptional talent of the leader. This is a very important condition for success in holding a business meeting.
The leader must choose the format of the meeting from the following options: with a mediator, with a leader and a mediator. The selected format of the meeting will allow it to be developed according to a specific scenario and defines a model for everyone to participate in it.
Preparation, study and distribution of roles
In order to effectively manage a business meeting, you must have prepared and distributed four important roles:
- Private member
Each of the participants in the meeting can fulfill any of these roles, as well as one participant can fulfill all these roles. For the effectiveness of the meeting, it is necessary to explain to everyone the essence of their roles.
Preparing participants for their roles can be an ongoing process, which helps to support the participation and involvement of all participants in such a meeting.
Dialogue before and after the meeting
To organize an impeccable business meeting, you need to clearly understand why you are going to organize it?
Engage as many future participants as possible in the planning process for the meeting itself. As an organizer, pay attention to the following points:
- List of participants
- Time and place of the business meeting
- Preparation of materials
- Audio / Video Presentation Equipment
- Possible special circumstances and needs
For the future, it is important to capture and disseminate key results of the event, including decisions, actions and open questions. Once the business meeting is over, you need to distribute these results among the participants - send follow-up mail to each of them.