Meetings can be undeniably boring, especially internal ones.
Most people attend hoping for some inspiration; some new information that they can bring back to their teams and followers.
And yet, most internal staff meetings consist of a presenter reading through their PowerPoint slides.
Even worse, today’s these meetings are usually on Zoom, or Teams, or Slack.
But despite this, people keep showing up. That’s because almost all of us understand that internal meetings are important for progress. We just wish they were more interesting.
How do the most successful CEOs plan meetings?
The best leaders understand that making internal staff meetings engaging is one of the best things they can aspire to do.
In most cases, being interesting is far more important than being smart, or being right.
Compelling staff meetings, run by charismatic presenters help to ensure that employees are excited to go into work.
In turn, they’ll be more positive about the company, which means customers will want to purchase from them, and staff will feel like they have a higher purpose in their job.
How does Jeff Bezos see staff meetings?
Jeff Bezos, as we all know, is the CEO of Amazon.
He recently took a quick flight to space.
He quite simply doesn’t have time to get bored. Nor would he tolerate it.
That’s why he famously banned PowerPoint from his meetings, in favour of a more dynamic format, where employees would have to fully write up what they would like to discuss in whole paragraphs.
His reasoning is simple: by forcing people to write their thoughts in detail, they’d have a far better, more detailed grasp of a subject than if they just skimmed the surface via the bullet points of a PowerPoint deck, or a Google slides document.
What are the advantages of his approach?
In a word, learning.
Jeff Bezos, with the intense demands on his time, wants to learn.
He clearly believes he won’t do that unless someone else has been forced to think through an idea or concept in detail. That way, they might have something interesting to say.
“When you have to write your ideas out in complete sentences and complete paragraphs, it forces a deeper clarity of thinking,” Bezos said in a 2012 interview.
His somewhat ruthless approach to leadership is also evident through other comments he’s made on the subject:
“Most staff meetings are boring because staff members aren’t using them as an opportunity to inspire each other or themselves” – Jeff Bezos
“Good staff meetings give staff time to share what they’re passionate about, whether it’s social causes or professional passions” – Jeff Bezos
How can you make your meetings more interesting?
Meetings can also be interesting if you follow these four simple rules:
– Invite entertaining guests to speak about relevant topics. It doesn’t matter whether they’re staff members or just people who are interesting to listen to. Just get engaging speakers that come up with new perspectives on things everyone faces in their daily lives.
– Keep an open mind when it comes to what kind of meeting will keep your employees interested. It could be anything from “how to pet dogs” seminars organized by the local humane society, or exciting lectures about web design for businesses. You can’t go wrong as long as you don’t stick to a routine staff meeting every week and people have the opportunity to come up with topics they think are interesting.
– Everyone has experiences from their past that can be useful for staff members. Just take a few minutes every staff meeting to ask one of your employees about an experience or story that will draw everyone’s attention and could even give them ideas for future projects.
– Start staff meetings with a quick exercise that takes only a few minutes but gets the whole staff involved in something fun and energizing. It can be anything from playing dumb charades games to giving out personality tests based on funny animal names. Make it clear from the start that this is the tone of the meeting.
Bonus tip: whatever you do, don’t make meetings too long.
What do you do to keep your staff interested in meetings?