By Jason Shah, founder and CEO of Do.

No one wants to sit in a boring meeting, but we often put up with it. Unless you have a culture of critical thinking, and you regularly bring processes into question to review their necessity, a lot of what we do happens on autopilot.

At our company, we've spent a lot of time figuring out the best ways to maximize meetings from both a sociological and technological standpoint. While there are many systematic problems with meetings that can be solved with technology, as our product does, a lot of it ultimately comes down to being a problem of human nature.

Here are six tips to help make that weekly Monday meeting more engaging:

Start Fresh

It's tough not to process everything that went well (and didn't go well) from the week before, but your Monday meeting won't go well if you drag last week's baggage into it. Instead, create a review process at the end of the week or start on a clean slate so you can focus on what's important now, not what was important yesterday.

Remove the Chairs

Stand up, get moving, and shake off the malaise of the Monday blues. You're not going to have a productive meeting when everyone is dreading the grind. Studies also show that standing up in a meeting can boost engagement. It may or may not work for you, but it's definitely worth a try.

Encourage Participation

Facilitators often don't fall short on words, which can make the meeting more of a presentation than a discussion. Without giving everyone space to contribute, you might as well send them a recorded video memo. Get your people involved in the meeting: Allow them to participate in planning and goal setting, and facilitate a quick brainstorming session.

Make sure everyone's voice is heard. A great way to ensure this actually happens is to go around the table and allow everyone to propose an idea, and/or bring up any concerns they may have.

Recognize Outstanding Achievement

Praise is powerful, especially public praise. When something goes right, celebrate your wins together. After all, individual victories are team victories. They energize the whole team and inspire them to keep their performance levels high.

At the end of the week, for example, you can blast out messages of praise to those who deserving of it that week. Not only will it make them feel like their work is appreciated, but it'll also motivate others to strive for even further excellence in their work.

Take a Break

Give your team some space and time to process what you're discussing, as it could lead to valuable ideas and insights for the business problems you're trying to solve. You should also punctuate meetings with a well-placed break, as people can easily check out mentally (even if they are present physically).

Ask Questions

Sometimes it's the little things that make a difference. If you aren't asking many questions in your meetings, consider asking more. Even if they are rhetorical, it will get some wheels turning.

If you're earnest about finding an answer, even if you can't sort it out now, simply embedding the question in the minds of your staff can have a tremendous impact on future solutions and insights.

Meetings are meant to be filled with structured, fruitful discussions surrounding work, not boring, mindless chatter about an endless list of topics. These are just some of the many tiny tweaks you can make to your weekly meetings to make them that much more engaging.

Jason Shah is the founder and CEO of Do, a collaboration platform that helps you run productive meetings.

Published on: Sep 21, 2016
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