Switched – On? Are Brains Engaged in Your Business Meetings?
Ever looked around the table at business meetings and wondered whether your colleagues are really switched on?
In recent years, discoveries in neuroscience and psychology have revealed more and more about how the human brain works. Here are some simple but effective strategies that can help you to get the most from meetings from the Well Tree Learning Toolbox!
- Attention is at its most acute at the start of meetings, it gradually troughs and only rises as meetings are coming to an end. Maximise on this by starting promptly and keeping administration of meetings to a minimum and jump straight in to focusing on key challenges. Effective agendas facilitate this. To keep attention higher during meetings, chunk the agenda to include a series of mini-starts and finishes. Recap at the end of meetings helps to ensure key points or decisions are retained.
- Avoid having two points that are similar close together on the Agenda. When two concepts that are similar are presented together confusion is likely unless care is taken to emphasize their difference – and this takes time! Split these items to different points on the Agenda to minimise mix-ups.
- Rapid reduction in thinking power occurs when people are sitting for anything longer than 20 – 30 minutes without standing up or moving around. Some Japanese businesses hold meetings standing at lecterns and ‘walk and talk’ meetings are becoming increasingly popular by innovative firms in the USA. Even standing and moving around on the spot for 15 seconds can increase oxygen flow to the brain. Consider the length of meetings and chunking them in order to get better outcomes.
- Observe the seating arrangements if meetings are regularly getting bogged down; the location of colleagues who are ‘drivers’ and those who are potential ‘blockers’ can be a factor. It can be useful to invest in Well Tree Learning psychometric assessments in order to maximise on the personality and conative types in your team in order to ensure that they are working well and in a complementary way.
- Where presentations are part of the meeting these should be limited to between 10 – 15 minutes – the shorter the better.
- Be aware that the time of day affects Attention and Memory. Whenever possible hold your most important meetings in the morning and try to avoid the time just after lunch. If that is not possible, precede the meeting with a short ‘walk and talk’ outside during which those attending chat about the agenda.
- Beware of False Memories (confabulations) that can occur when colleagues recall past events. This can cause havoc in meetings and in the workplace. Understanding the brain science involved means that leaders and managers can be aware this is not intentional lying. It is an unconscious rather than deliberate process and the individual believes the fabricated information to be true. Learning how to deal with it when it is happening in meetings and how avoid this for the future can make a great difference to the culture and the happiness of your workplace!
All this and so much more information on holding Brain-Friendly meetings, on making meetings work for you and your organisation and it is just a call away!
Let the Well Tree Learning Toolbox make the difference in your workplace!
Other blogs in Your Workplace: Making Meetings Work for You series | To meet or not to meet, that really is the question. | History is Written by the Minute Taker – How to write Smart Minutes!