Tips to Reinvigorate Your Next Meeting
There is an adage in corporate America that says the average executive will spend 75% of her time in meetings. In my own experience, I have found this to be true. As the president of a marketing consulting firm with many Fortune 500 clients, I am called upon to constantly design effective meetings for them.Â
Unfortunately there is no set formula on the appropriate way to design the âperfect meetingâ for a Fortune 500 company. However, there are certainly key factors to keep in mind.
Set Objectives & Direct Audience Mood
The most obvious is having a clear meeting objective and being able to connect that objective to the everyday performance metrics, challenges and aspirations of your audience. One unspoken but important challenge in accomplishing your meetingâs objective is the ability to pre-assess the attendeesâ likely mood.Â If the anticipated mood of participants is one of resignation or âno matter what I do, nothing is really going to fix this business problemâ, your job includes the challenge of shifting the group to a mood of possibility or âthere may well be new solutions that will work hereâ. Identifying and addressing moods requires the ability to observe a companyâs culture as well as individualâs interpersonal interactions â something you can develop with time and experience. Success truly begins when you can tap into the unspoken concerns of your attendees and address them directly.Â
Go from Good to Great
As importantly, every company is unique. Having a solid understanding of a companyâs culture, personality and capabilities are the most essential preparatory component; insomuch as they guide the organization. A simple way to begin is to ascertain the companyâs traditional definition of a âgoodâ or âbadâ internal meeting. Talk to your contacts (and maybe their assistants) to get a sound idea of the companyâs barometer of successful meetings (short and sweet, awesome PowerPoint, highly interactive, open forum/idea generation, etc) - then use that as your benchmark. Once you fully understand the components of the companyâs best meeting then your challenge is to do it better!Â In many cases this may mean adding a new element. For example, I have brought in noted guest speakers, formulated innovative workshop sessions, utilized online meeting technologies and hosted interactive sessions with generally inaccessible high level executives. Of course, there can be many meeting differentiators but the key is honing in on what can make the meeting stellar.
There is finesse involved in wow-ing Fortune 500 companies, but the key takeaway should always be that you are prepared, articulate and concise. If we are all spending 75% of time in meetings, you want yours to stand out.
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