Did you know that the average adult has an 8 second attention span?!? Wow! That’s an intimidating number when you think about keeping even one person — much less an entire team — engaged for a full day. Engagement is key to prevent boring meetings, however keeping a team engaged is much easier said than done. The good news is there are a few factors that you have control of that are guaranteed to increase engagement with your team. Here are 4 easy tips to prevent a boring meeting and maximize your team’s attention span.
(1) Be Prepared
Being prepared is a common theme throughout many of our posts because it’s crucial to the engagement of your team. If you’re prepared and have a well thought out structure to your day this will be noticeable to your team. Teams are less likely to be disengaged when they are meeting with someone who is prepared. Always create an agenda and ensure the agenda is sent out ahead of time so attendees come prepared with talking points. Show up to the meeting facility early (at least 30 minutes) to iron out any kinks in AV equipment or room setup opportunities.
(2) Be Intentional when Choosing a Location
It’s easy to book a room in your office building or find the cheapest hotel conference room, but the space you choose will have a significant impact on how engaged your team will be throughout the day. The space you choose will set the tone for your entire meeting. It’s the “first impression” and first impressions are very important, especially when the goal is to prevent a boring meeting and have an engaged team. Look for spaces that are private and offsite. A space with comfortable seating, natural light, and some color will have the biggest impact on a teams impression and mood throughout the day. Also, a great meeting space doesn’t have to break the bank if you put some thought into the location.
(3) Be Proactive with Breaks
Breaks are all too often an afterthought when it comes to planning a meeting. Of course lunch is scheduled, and maybe an afternoon break, but in order to maximize team engagement throughout the day frequent breaks are a must. Breaks create a space for teams to breathe for a minute, process what you’ve been talking about, check their phones (which they’ve been dying to check) and come back refreshed and ready to focus. Try to break at least once every 90 minutes and keep most breaks to 15 minutes or less.
(4) Be Bold with Team Bonding
In other words, “break the script”. Do something unexpected with your team. This is the tip that often gets overlooked due to timing or lack of planning, but it’s a great way to keep your team engaged. For optimal engagement use an outside facilitator for the experience. This will alleviate the leader from having to facilitate the activity and ensure an experience created to keep your team engaged.
It’s easy to get so focused on the content of the meeting that you overlook the logistics that have such potential positive impact. Keep these tips in mind when planning your next meeting to keep your team fully engaged throughout the entire day.