Staples Business Advantage

How you can bring your office meetings to life

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Meetings are an inevitable part of office life. They might be daily departmental catch-ups, senior management team sessions or even major new business or client presentations.

When they work well then these comings together can be a real boon to the business as people leave feeling informed, energised and 100% clear on what their next steps should be. But, if they fail to engage the attendees they can be the equivalent of that curling and dried-up tuna on brown that’s left on the platter after a lunchtime session.

Of course having effective meetings will depend on the people leading and attending them but there are certain techniques and pieces of equipment that can really bring things to life.

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Project for success

If a formal presentation is part of the meeting then make sure that you don’t just have the right projector or monitor but that you also know how to work it. Nothing kills the atmosphere more than minutes spent fiddling with cables and settings while your audience are left to read the words “No signal” on the screen. Plus there are plenty of alternatives to PowerPoint available if you want to make your presentation stand out from hundreds of others your audience will have seen in the past.

Get interactive

In meetings where you’re trying to gather opinions or drive new thinking then interactivity is key. So it’s also important that you have ways to capture what’s being said. This can be anything from a whiteboard, chart or e-screen to a repositionable flipchart or even display products from the Nobo Prestige or the Legamaster professional ranges.

A whiteboard’s probably best if you are either making points or drawing diagrams as you speak or aren’t expecting a great deal of feedback, while a repositionable flipchart with plenty of pages will allow you to move it where you want as well as tear off the pages when they’re filled in. You can also use different coloured flipchart markers for different topics or to highlight certain points – but do make sure that they’re fresh and not likely to run out of ink.

Involve the audience

It sounds obvious, and it is. Get everyone in the meeting involved and you’ll all get a lot more out of it. Large meeting notes are ideal for people to write down ideas and opinions and to stick them on the walls of the meeting room.

Icebreakers are also a great way of encouraging interaction at the start of the meeting. This can be anything from everyone sharing the funniest thing that’s happened to them that week to their most unusual claims to fame. Obviously this wouldn’t be right for a client presentation but it could work very well in a more casual atmosphere amongst people who are meeting for the first time.

With the best presentation tools for the situation, active facilitation and the right level of involvement there’s a good chance of a great outcome – and even a renewed enthusiasm for meetings in general.

As for the leftover sandwiches, that’s just a question of ordering fewer to start with.

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