August 15, 2013
Corporate meetings and conferences often mean back-to-back lectures and long days, but putting in more time doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll learn more or even get more done. Studies on attention spans show that even adult minds began to wander after about 10-15 minutes, and by taking regular breaks from mental tasks, productivity and creativity improve. To create an engaging and productive meeting environment, don’t ask your attendees for their undivided attention for too long. Instead, incorporate short breaks to let the mind relax and recharge.
Try these tips at your next corporate function:
1. Incorporate More Q & A: Rather than leaving that for the very end, try adding in more frequent Q & A sessions after each discussion point. That way, people are focused on the rest of the lecture rather than on their questions. It also breaks up monotony by making the lecture interactive the whole way through.
2. Have the Speaker Ask a Question: To break up a session and further interaction among attendees, try asking a question halfway through. Then, ask people to partner with the person next to them and share their thoughts. Small-group discussions will get the brain thinking in a different direction and offer the chance for attendees to test the way they perceive information against their peers.
3. Move Around: Get people moving by placing food & beverage stations away from seating areas, or switch rooms between sessions. Movement gets the blood flowing to the brain, gives people a chance to mingle and relax, and gives the mind a chance to recharge.
4. Speaking of Food & Beverage…Don’t Forget it!: You know how it goes – your lunch is almost gone and you start focusing more on your growling stomach than on the meeting. But when attendees are hydrated and their blood sugar levels are stable, they will feel more alert and present in the tasks at hand. Offer healthy options and limit sugars that can lead to a crash later.
5. Throw in Some Humor: Corporate functions don’t always offer the most exciting topics – but interjecting a little humor can go a long way. Show a funny video or share a related story to get the audience laughing. This will enable attendees to detach and relax physically and mentally.
What are your ideas on creating engaging meetings and optimizing productivity?