What is worse than sitting through a boring meeting? One that is both boring and unproductive. By definition, marketing is meant to engage, but the meeting that gets the client signed or your staff up to date can be a real drag. Sometimes you just have to sit down with a new business prospect or that blog writer for hire and discuss. Here are some tips for making that sit down better.
Invite the Right People
It sounds a little too simple, but the people in the meeting matter. If you invite the entire office staff and focus on things that have nothing to do with half of them, well, that really is annoying. Instead, keep your invites tight and concise. Have the right people in the room, but make sure the topic on hand applies to them all. If necessary, have a couple different meetings instead of one long one that covers lots of topics.
The flip side of that is also true. Make sure to invite all the relevant people to the meeting. If you leave some out, you just end up repeating yourself.
Keep an Eye on the Clock
Again, it seems simple, but don’t forget most of us have short attention spans. If you have a lot to cover, consider splitting the meeting up into sessions or, at least, scheduling plenty of breaks. Sarah Reiff-Hekking, a time management coach, states the average adult pays attention for about 10 minutes. After that, you have to grab their attention all over again.
It is better to keep the topics short and to the point, so you don’t schedule long meetings that drag out.
Never Cry Wolf
In other words, don’t schedule a meeting just for the sake of having a meeting. Don’t be that guy. Make meetings count for something. If you can accomplish the same thing with a memo, online presentation or some other form of communication, meetings will matter more when they do happen
Lose the Trendy Buzz Phrases
There is a good chance that every time you say “thinking outside the box” someone fights the urge to throw a sharp object in your direction. None of us are really rockstars, we don’t bring things to the table and win-win is a made up word.
Instead of relying heavily on words that no one really knows the meaning of – like synergy, for example – just say what you need to in clear, precise language that won’t grate on everyone’s nerves.
There is a difference between a meeting and a speech. Make the meeting a discussion not a monologue. If people are talking, that is productive. At the same time, keep them on track. No one likes that guy that raises his hand every two minutes to state the obvious. Keep things moving in one direction – forward.
Meetings are an unfortunate side effect of business, especially in a creative industry like marketing. Make yours as painless as possible by keeping them productive and less annoying.
Darla F is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in helping agencies meet their goals by developing creative and engaging content.