Have you ever come out of a meeting and felt dead tired?

Yep, so have I.

Sometimes it’s because I need food. All that brainwork whets my appetite. Other times I might not have slept enough. But more often something else is going on like the meeting was way too long.

I don’t know what it is but if a meeting is scheduled for two hours it will fill those two hours even if the topic could be handled in less time. Then some participants grow impatient. They start staring at the clock, their phone, or the wall. You can see them think, “Oh no, please stop talking.” Or something like, “Yes, you’ve already said that.” The other participants feel that impatience; feel less confident, and start …. – Yes, you got it – start talking more.

The end result is a meeting enforcing each other’s bad behavior. Everybody leaves the room exhausted.

So today let’s discuss a couple of tips that will make meetings more engaging and productive.

1 – Start the meeting with a Power Minute.

A Power Minute is a minute with no talking at the start of the meeting. You can use this Power Minute in different ways. All attendants can be silent during that minute and take care that they are present. A Power Minute can also be used to connect to the best possible outcome for this meeting. What would make you and other people in the room leave the meeting smiling? Not because they are happy that the meeting is over but because the best possible outcome was reached.

2 – Limit Invites

Even inviting people to a meeting can become a habit. The same people are invited because they have always been there in the past. But do they really need to be there? Before you hit “invite,” ask yourself if that person really needs to be in the meeting. Can that person add value in another way?

3 – No meetings on Thursday

One day without meetings. An office worker’s fantasy?

No, it isn’t.

A day without meetings happens.

The company Edmunds.com with 700 employees introduced “Thinking Thursday.” One day without meetings. Julie Merges, the company’s chief people officer, explains that when you’re in one meeting after another, it’s hard to get things done. The company hopes that “Thinking Thursday” sparks productivity, creativity, and innovation.

And just imagine after one day without meetings how different meetings will feel on the other days of the week.

4 – Create transition time

Most organizations schedule meetings without allowing transition time between the meetings. That’s amazing that we do that because most of us attended schools where the class times were not a full hour. The transition time at schools allowed us to get to the next room on time. Why have we forgotten this? I don’t know. Maybe because all planners work with full and half hours?

5 – Make somebody responsible for energy management

Most meetings have predictable roles and responsibilities like for time management. But what about energy management? What if the energy of the room goes down, for example, because people need a break or someone is on their high horse. Does the facilitator include energy management as their role or do they space out themselves?

Make it somebody’s role to watch the engagement level. Meetings in which attendees are not engaged are not effective. Those meetings should end, right then, regardless of the original agenda.  Evaluate why the meeting was, in effect, failing and reschedule.