29 Oct

Why Sweaty Meetings are Successful Meetings

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster We all know that a great physical workout builds up a sweat. Not the most pleasant experience in the moment, and yet the extended benefits are what we’re after: a clearer head, a more toned body, a longer life. The same can be said for a mental workout. And the best-designed meetings will ensure participants experience enough intellectual vigor that they mentally sweat—and gain important takeaways. So how do you design and run a meeting that’s worth the sweat? 3.5 ways: 1.    Make sure your meeting solves a specific problem Begin with the end in mind by identifying your top meeting goals in advance. Sound obvious? It’s enormously rare. We often meet habitually: the annual conference. The Monday huddle. Before you just assume you must bring people together, ask “What will we do, experience, and learn at this meeting that could never be communicated in a slide deck, MP3 file, podcast, social media post, or webinar?” This one key question will elevate the quality of your content, vastly improve productivity and score you hours of saved effort. For a particularly hard sweat, make the problem to be solved one for which you’re willing to…

23 Aug

#4 Way to Guarantee a Horrific Meeting

Schedule Speakers Who Suck While organizations completely avoid this experience when you team up with No More Boring Meetings, we all know the power of a speaker to make our meeting horrific—or a big hurrah. A short list of how to ensure a home run on the speaker platform every time: Always preview a speaker via a demo video or an in-person showcase. Just asking the speaker or the agency for either will normally do the trick. To ensure an all-around fit, talk with the speaker before you finalize the contract and discuss your audience, goals and talk points. If some aspect doesn’t align, revisit your speaker search. Personally call a few of the clients who hired the speaker to hear directly about their experience. Even before you book someone, talk about the extent to which he or she will customize the keynote session or make the entertainment extra special for your audience. The “canned” speech is a thing of the past. At the same time, it’s unrealistic to expect most external talent to create a from-scratch session just for your group—unless you’re willing to pay an additional customization fee. Be sure to clarify your expectations from the beginning, because…

10 Aug

#3 Way to Guarantee a Horrific Meeting

Use only one or two ways to communicate information Most meetings offer a rather predictable format: an introduction from leadership, followed by an opening keynote, after which participants disburse for breakouts, reconvene for lunch, and most likely, do the same thing repeatedly over one or more days, til it’s time to go home, overwhelmed and not measurably smarter. Most information shared in meetings is transferred from a talking head, into the unengaged or under-involved heads of the audience. All in the midst of too many data-heavy slides. While there may be some interaction via a raising of hands, smaller team discussions, and networking one-on-ones, most often, people are learning by hearing and by reading. Pretty horrific, when you consider the many other options available to us for expanding our knowledge base.  Next time, try integrating one or more of these ideas: Showcase videos, recorded by employees before the meeting—and shown at the meeting—to illustrate team accomplishments in a fresh, vivid and memorable way. Closely timed round table discussions that generate new ideas, bridge solutions, or air frustrations in a fast-paced, results-driven manner, along with awards given for the “best” ideas as voted on by peers. Improv skits on stage that…

08 Aug

#2 Way to Guarantee a Horrific Meeting

Arrange out-of-synch programming and messaging. With proper planning and yes, extra leg work, we can ensure that all aspects of our meeting agenda are aligned—and do not contradict each other. Accomplish this simply with 1-3 planning meetings and/or conference calls with all meeting-message stakeholders, from your C-suite, to your external keynote speakers, to your breakout session presenters and even your entertainers. (Imagine, for example, the audience’s happy surprise at hearing an after-dinner comedian whose “call-back” reflects something your President said that morning.) During this message continuity meeting or call, have participants share their content plans, and ensure everyone’s on board with ways to unite and align messages for more impact. This discussion also removes content redundancies or contradictions, so that you can make the most of every meeting minute. With information overload rampant, the more you focus on just two or three key “meta-message” take aways, the more participants will retain overall…and the stronger your meeting’s returns. Trying to do too much means very little sticks. Often, we communicate more (and more is remembered) when we communicate in a more strategic, streamlined, and unified way.

06 Aug

#1 way to guarantee a horrific meeting

Employ a purposeless–or not purposeful enough–planning process Even before you set a date and find a venue, find a reason to meet. Sound silly? Well, how many meetings—large and small—have you endured, while wondering: what’s the point? So, get to the point from the very beginning. Decide key event take aways: What do you want the audience to think, feel, do, believe and/or experience after the meeting that they don’t currently? What will we do together in this in-person meeting that could never happen virtually? If your answers aren’t compelling–and tied to your business strategy–it’s time to answer the questions again, or scrap the meeting. What should attendees do immediately upon returning to the office? Can every audience member recite their roles in achieving the newly set goals as they walk out of the conference center? If not, you’re an accomplice to a horrific meeting.