Whenever meeting and you’re looking around the room and the urge to sympathetically yawn is overwhelming. Because everyone in your meeting is yawning! Before you resort to the cattle prod method of keeping people involved in a meeting maybe you should try some of these other methods for keeping people awake and participating.
Just like a magician’s performance, getting some audience contribution can keep your meeting members involved in the discussion. Get your employees to engage in the meetings. Not only does this help to keep them awake it helps them feel that they are involved and contributing to the business of the meeting. A lot of people say that the act of chewing or drinking food helps them stay alert. And employees love it when their boss extends a little love in the form of a box of doughnuts. It can also be healthy food, such as a veggie tray, or a fruit basket. Think about what you’re giving your employees though. Handing them soft doughnuts to chew on can be a lot less disruptive to a meeting than everybody opening up bags of potato chips.
Keep it Short
Is a four hour marathon meeting necessary? Sure that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but is it hitting close to home? Protracted meetings can result in a decrease in worker productivity, mostly because your workers are in a long meeting during their workday.
If the nature of the meeting can be resolved quickly, then resolve it quickly. Many managers make the mistake of trying to justify getting everyone into a room by having a long and drawn out meeting. Keep the meeting on topic and it can be resolved very quickly. If the content of a meeting necessitates that it be long then consider taking frequent breaks. Take a 10 to 15 minute break at least once an hour so people get a chance to stretch their muscles, grab a quick snack or drink, or even take a smoke break. Not that we’re encouraging smoking here. We’re just saying is all.
Time of Day
The time of day can be an important factor in a meeting. It isn’t uncommon to have a morning meeting but that can actually be the worst time to hold one. Many people say that they are at their most productive in the morning, and holding a meeting at that time can greatly disrupt that productivity. Likewise avoid scheduling a meeting right after lunch when bellies are full and people get a little logy. If the meeting isn’t critical to have in a timely manner, consider holding it near the end of the work day. Your employees will be on the edge of their seat. Albeit that’s probably because they’re counting the seconds until quitting time. You’ll know your team better than an internet article will. Take the time to figure out when your employees are getting the most work done and just work around that.
Standing Room Only
Disclaimer: I have actually seen people pass out while standing up. Make sure to bend those knees! Standing up is a great way to help people pay attention. Have you ever seen a formation of soldiers just standing there while a company commander addresses them? Sure they’re being ordered to and there are times when we think about how great it would be to have that level of discipline in our employees, but notice that they are all paying attention to the person speaking. Being made to stand up has been hailed as a great way to maintain focus and limit the desire to engage in distractions, such as a side conversation, in a meeting. It can also help a person feel energized and motivated in a meeting.
Along those lines, consider reducing the temperature of the meeting room. It doesn’t have to be arctic, but a good five to six degrees cooler than every other room in the building can chill your employees a bit and discourage them from drifting off in a meeting. Work itself is a work in progress and hopefully some of these tips can help you run your business a little bit more effectively. Give your employees a bit of help in staying awake, and if they still can’t, remind them cattle-prods are very affordable!
It's pretty far from an organic all natural solution to keeping people awake but the short term benefits of caffeine and sugar can be felt quite rapidly. You can enjoy the sugar rush fueled attention spans and let your employees deal with the sugar crashes later. Okay, that sounds a little mean. It doesn't have to be caffeine and sugar though.