Yesterday was February 2nd, Groundhog Day in the US and Canada. In many places people come together to see the groundhog awake from wintersleep. This day became internationally famous due to the comedy Groundhog Day (1993). The movie tells the story of a grumpy weatherman who gets caught in a time warp on Groundhog Day. As a consequence he has to experience this day again and again.
Sounds familiar? Are all the meetings you attend or plan exactly the same? If not, I collected five tips for you to make your meetings a truly repetitive event. Endless boredom and apathy guaranteed. Read it with a wink.
1. Don’t change the settings
Make sure that you stick to the standard equipment. You should always use the same conference room and a persistent talking head, who feeds the sleepy crowd with information.
2. Use Powerpoint
If you still have the presentation from 1999 there is no need to make a new one. Ideally, the speaker puts as much information as possible on his slides so that the audience can read along with him. Avoid pictures and graphics. They are distracting.
3. Talk business
This should be a serious business meeting so the only topic has to be business. Don’t be funny and save personal anecdotes for the coffee break.
4. Avoid discussions
Don’t allow the speaker to answer questions or stimulate discussions. Interactive sessions during a meeting are time-consuming and interrupt the speaker.
5. Keep the routine
If you always gather on Tuesday you should never change that. You can always think of some reason to meet even if there is actually nothing to discuss. Establish a standard agenda for all your meetings and adhere to it.
What is your experience with meetings in ‘Groundhog Day style’?
If you have other tips to add, please leave them below.
If it is you first time planning a meeting or the hundred. Everyone makes mistakes sometime. To help you planning a meeting without surprises and stress we defined the 7 most common planning mistakes which easily can be avoided.
#1 – Going By it alone
When you are planning a meeting it is hard to estimate how much time and effort will go into it. Many planners think they can do it all by themselves and underestimate the time and effort it takes to plan a meeting. There are so many things you need to think about, trying to remember and organize this all by yourself is rough. My advice to you is: do not bite of more than you can chew. Collect a team around you and delegate.
#2 – Underestimating time
Unexpected situations will occur so always overestimate the amount of time you will need. It is better to be ready before deadline than stressing to be in time. This will make planning the meeting more relaxed and keeps you more creative and sharp.
#3 – Not double checking
If you plan a meeting with a team do not just assume they did their job. Check and double check. At the end planning the meeting is you responsibility and you do not want to be surprised at the day of the meeting. Ask your team to send you conformations of arrangements they made and make a checklist for yourself what to double check at the end.
#4 – Leaving things to chance
Plan the meeting onto the finest detail. Play the whole meeting in your mind a think of every detail. All this should be planned. My tip for you would be to make and script and use checklists.
#5 – Not adding creativity
Planning a good meeting is not good enough. Make the meeting unforgettable. Earlier in this blog I mentioned the importance of taking time to plan your meeting. When you are under stress it is more difficult to come up with creative ideas to make a meeting more productive and memorable. Take time to plan a meeting and the activities after a meeting, so your best ideas get the time to get to the top. Think out of the box.
#6 – Not committing to a defined planning timeline
Making a meeting agenda is one of the most important things you do while planning a meeting. Determine what you want to discuss, in what order and how much time you want to spend time on each subject. This makes sure there never will be an important subject that didn’t get discussed for lack of time. Important here is that you stick to your planning.
#7 – Not purchasing event insurance
Better safe than sorry is my slogan. There are all kind of things that can happen. Attendees who miss their flight, flights that are canceled etc. Make sure you define the difficulties you might face and insure yourself against them.