Have you ever won a sports competition? Then you know that focus is essential in sports. You have to have a goal and go for it. This weekend around 15,000 runners will experience that during the Rotterdam Marathon.
Good focus is also essential in meetings. Did you know that the average maximum attention span is only 45 minutes? All the more reason to make speed a top priority, also in meetings! Luckily, when it comes to meetings, we can learn from runners!
Methods to optimize the lap times of your meetings:
Tip 1: Set a clear course
The Netherlands is truly “meeting land.” Democratic decision making is a positive but consensus also sometimes leads to endless meetings. How do you ensure optimal meetings? With clear structure. A runner’s best performance comes with a clear starting time, set course and having a pacemaker (“rabbit”) who ensures that he runs faster. That is the way it works in the office, too. A clear schedule sets the course for a successful meeting.
Specify a maximum discussion time for each item. In that way the focus stays on the main themes. Don’t feel like always having to have a stopwatch in hand? Then assign a “pacemaker” for each meeting!
Tip 2: Avoid latecomers
Do athletes ever arrive too late to a competition? No! If they do, they can kiss their trophy goodbye. Ensure participants arrive on time to meetings, because latecomers disrupt the pace. Some companies have creative solutions to stop these interruptions. Event management company Cvent instituted a policy of having latecomers sing a song. Problem solved!
Tip 3: Energizers
Want to keep your colleagues energized? Squeeze in a short break from time to time, that keeps people tuned in. After all, runners also refresh themselves with regular short drink breaks. Can’t avoid having to schedule a longer meeting? If possible, find an external location for your meeting. Otherwise the chance is great that your colleagues will address their regular work during the breaks. Not really an energizer, is it?
Tip 4: Innovate
An athlete is always looking for innovations, to enhance their performance. In that context, have you ever thought of standing meetings? Your body language is clearer when you stand and your opinion as well! Everyone’s attention is also keener when you stand because you skip repetitions and private interchanges. You shorten meetings substantially and it is healthier as well!
Tip 5: The right equipment
The newest equipment is extremely important for sport. They can make the difference between winning and losing. This is also true for top meetings! With modern digital meeting tools all participants can submit and view the correct meeting materials. That way you save oodles of time before and during the meeting…and come across the finish line in full glory!