How to Hold Better Business Meetings

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How to Hold Better Business Meetings

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If your team has meeting fatigue, this article from Aneta Key offers a solution and explains a few simple ideas for better business meetings.

As in so many other situations, when it comes to meetings we often default to habits — like sitting down in a conference room for hours on end for any type of workshops or scheduling an hour-long video conference call for any type of one-on-one interactions. In fact, we do have a choice — and when appropriate, I chose a “walk-and-talk” format for interactions that can benefit from fresh air and some kinetic movement.

Here are 3 tangible examples on how I use the underutilized Walk & Talk Meeting Format.

First, I use the Walk & Talk Format for Check-In Phone Calls or In-Person Meetings

There are times when the objective of a one-on-one remote conversation is to work through a document — and in those cases, it helps to share your screen for better collaboration.  However, in many cases, the objective is to simply check-in or connect with another person. For those occasions, I offer a “walk-and-talk” option on my calendar.

I’ve found that people really appreciate the opportunity to stretch their legs, get some steps in, walk the dog, or change the scene. Plus, the format offers an effortless conversation opening to describe the location of your walk.

Of course, this also works in person! I am fortunate to live nearby hiking trails and have had many lovely professional conversations amid the California Redwood Forest.  In my opinion, this option beats even getting together for a fancy dinner.

Second, I build the Walk & Talk Format in the Agenda for Day-long Workshops

When clients invite me to facilitate a workshop, the topic is usually important and the event requires utmost sustained focus — for example, to deliberate strategy, shape annual plans, launch transformation programs, prioritize efforts, etc.

I find that the time slot right after lunch is perfect for a paired or small group walk & talk. It allows people to digest — both the food, and the food-for-thought from the morning.   The duration depends on how much time the agenda can allow for this, where are the good spots to walk around near the meeting facility, and what I ask them to do during the walk & talk period — typically 15 to 30 minutes.

When the agenda is ambitious (that’s 90% of the cases!) I offer specific prompts to guide the walk & talk discussion to simultaneously advance the objectives of the meeting (while giving people a change of scenery).

For example, if the morning is focused on situation assessment and initiative status updates while the afternoon aims to develop priorities, I may ask participants to think through their preliminary individual points of view on priorities based on the morning discussions.

In another example, if I have to introduce some material that each person needs to review to inform subsequent parts of the agenda, I may give participants handouts and ask them to find a nice outdoor spot, review the handout individually, and then discuss some prompting questions during a walk & talk.

Key points include:

  • Walk and talks
  • Cognitive peak states
  • Intensive training agendas

Read the full article, Simple Ideas for Better Meetings, on AdeaPartners.com.