According to statistics, around 37 percent of employee time is spent in meetings and almost half of them believe they are a waste of time. With this in mind, we can conclude that many business meetings are fundamentally flawed.
The fact is not everything will go as expected. In order to reach the highest level of productivity and conduct a successful meeting, it’s important to be familiar with behavioral psychology and apply key principles so you can lead more productive and enjoyable meetings.
Here are four tips to keep in mind.
1. Prioritize physical equality.
Like in every other part of life, a first impression sets the tone for what follows in the meeting and by no means should you be late. Not only is it rude and sets a bad example for others, the overall productivity is affected as well.
Have a team member adjust the chairs to be of equal height. Although you might be of a higher ranking than other people in the room, there is no need to set yourself physically above your team. Research confirms that the way you sit impacts communication.
For example, “Sitting so that we take up as much room as possible […] puts us in an open, expansive posture that’s known as a high-power position. And being in a high-power position [… makes us feel] more powerful…” This can make other team members feel intimidated.
Instead, by looking at everyone in the room as equals and taking all of their ideas into consideration, others will feel appreciated and be encouraged to contribute.
2. Wear what works.
The meeting host should always confirm what kind of attire is expected for a particular meeting (e.g., whether it is an internal meeting or a meeting with clients, vendors, or investors). Whether you opt for business formal or business casual, all participants should look uniformed.
Nevertheless, we cannot neglect the fact the notion that wearing business attire makes people more productive. The right business attire adds to your credibility, so you should always be dressed sharper than your employees (even if it is smart casual).
Furthermore, pay attention to details and always wear a classic wristwatch. People will perceive you as punctual and someone who respects other people and their time. Keep your audience in mind.
3. Watch your words.
Avoid repeating yourself. Not only does redundant and unnecessary information waste everyone’s valuable time, it also gives the impression that you are not prepared. Create an outline of everything you wish to say.
As a meeting host, it is your responsibility to set the agenda and stick to it. Furthermore, avoid interrupting others or yelling when talking to a colleague. Most importantly, never criticize an employee during the meeting itself. Disciplinary tasks should be handled in private. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of hindering employee morale and increase work place stress.
4. Make eye contact.
Establish an eye contact with everyone present. The Wall Street Journal reports, “A growing body of research shows eye contact signals status and influence in both one-on-one conversations and group meetings. High-status people receive more visual attention from their conversation partners, says a 2009 research review in the journal, Image and Vision Computing.” This is why many emphasize the importance of choosing the right boardroom table and seating.
Although it is a common practice for the meeting leader to sit at the head of the rectangular table, we can’t disregard a multitude of benefits of a round one. From this position you can easily establish an eye contact equally with everyone sitting at the table and ensure all employees feel welcome and equal.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Sarah Fields has been combining her passion for writing and technology research for ten years. Currently, she’s writing on behalf of Bizzmark Blog and is interested in business, startup culture and marketing, as well as latest technological trends. Connect with @bizzmark_blog on Twitter.
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