5 Easy Ways to Make Meetings More Impactful

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Impactful Meetings|5 Easy Ways to Make Meetings More ImpactfulOn average, work meetings last anywhere from 31-60 minutes. Theoretically, that means you could either host or attend several of them each day. Unfortunately, all too often, meetings for work end up falling flat. Whether you’re talking about improving your brand strategy, covering data and figures, or trying to come up with safer IT solutions, putting together an effective and motivating meeting can be a big challenge for business owners and managers.

It’s far too easy for employees to ‘tune out’ or contribute their own ideas during a traditional meeting setting. When that happens and those meetings are productive, your company loses money. In fact, it’s estimated that pointless meetings end up costing businesses billions of dollars each year. But, there are things you can do to make your meetings more effective.

By putting more effort into creating motivating meetings, you can see results from your employees and co-workers, rather than a lack of motivation and inspiration. You don’t have to be a great public speaker or try to force any ideas upon anyone. Instead, use some of these strategies in your next meeting to engage your employees, and you’re likely to see the results you’re hoping for.

1. Make Sure the Meeting is Necessary

If you really want to get your employees on board with meetings, make sure they’re absolutely necessary. Far too often, managers and employers hold meetings for things that could be dealt with in more efficient ways. The reality is, more employees would rather get an email about something, or even have a one-on-one conversation rather than attend a long meeting if it doesn’t accomplish anything.

Additionally, meaningless meetings waste your own time. Think about all of the other things you could be accomplishing in your day without so many wasteful meetings. How can you tell if holding a meeting is necessary? Ask yourself the following questions:

Do you need input from a specific team in order to move forward?
Is a meeting the best way to reach everyone at once?
Is it a valuable use of everyone’s time?
Does it have to be done face-to-face?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of those questions, then it’s likely the meeting is necessary. If not, try to find ways to work around it, including emails or quick conversations with a few key people. Not only will you save time, but you can get straight to the source of whatever issue is at hand, rather than having to talk about a variety of other things for 30 minutes in order to get to the point.

2. Send a Schedule Ahead of Time

Being organized for your meeting, even before it starts, will help to keep yourself and your employees on track. By sending out an agenda to those involved in the meeting ahead of time, everyone will know what to expect. They’ll be able to prepare themselves for discussion, think about any points they want to bring up, and they’ll know that the meeting itself has a purpose and what you’re trying to accomplish.

Utilizing powerpoint services can help you to even send out slides or images you plan to share in the meeting, as well. This will help to get everyone thinking ahead, so they can bring their ideas into the meeting. As a result, more creative thinking can flow in a shorter amount of time and you may be able to get through your meetings faster and more efficiently.

3. Make Sure Everyone is Involved

Effective meetings shouldn’t just consist of one person talking or explaining everything. While you can start with a presentation and talk about what you’re trying to accomplish, meetings are meant to be collaborative. After all, if you want to be the one doing all the talking and explaining, you could just as easily send out an email.

So, make sure you get everyone involved as a participant in the meeting. This can be especially helpful for people who don’t often speak up or bring up their own ideas. They might have something great simmering under the surface. When you make it known that everyone has to participate and contribute something, they’re more likely to finally come forward with those ideas.

Plus, when everyone gets a chance to participate in a meeting, they’re more likely to feel as though it was productive and not a waste of time. People appreciate having their voices heard, and it can certainly change their perspective on whether something was worth it.

4. Give Specific Tasks

Meetings should end with an action plan in place. Workload delegation is extremely important, not only to help prevent burnout but to make sure the people with the right skills and strengths are handling the right tasks.

By the time the meeting is over, your plan of action should include a specific task for everyone who attended. Decide who is in charge of each task, how long that task will take, and what it will consist of. When people are able to leave a meeting feeling as though they have something to accomplish because of it, they’re less likely to feel as though it was a waste of time.

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Impactful Meetings|5 Easy Ways to Make Meetings More Impactful5. Follow Up

Don’t let a meeting on one specific subject just fall away. Follow-up with the people in attendance. Have deadlines in place for the tasks they were assigned, and check-in with them regularly to make sure everything is on track. Again, this will help them to know that the things you talked about within the meeting were worthwhile, and the work they’re putting in on their assigned job is actually important.

Meetings can be useful when they are held for the right reasons and you go through them the right way. If you truly want your work meetings to be more effective, keep some of these tips in mind. When meetings are held the right way, you can motivate your employees and make them understand that meetings can be important, rather than just a waste of time and money for everyone involved.

Five practical tips to engage your audience at conference presentation

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Presentation Tips|Five practical tips to engage your audience at conference presentationGiving a presentation at a conference is a massive opportunity. It is the chance to share an idea with the world, convince peers about your ideas, and help to make your industry more efficient and effective at what it does. And from a personal perspective it can provide a fantastic chance for presenters to get immediate input and feedback from real people.

Unfortunately, there is a problem – it’s not always easy to keep your audience engaged with what you are talking about. Four out of five professionals said that their focus shifted away from the presenter at the last presentation that they attended.

And given how important it is to keep your audience engaged with what you are talking about, losing their attention is a nightmare from a presenter’s perspective. So, it is vital that you do everything you can to make your presentation as engaging to the audience as possible. Here we present five practical tips that you can use during your next presentation to keep your audience engaged.

1. Be confident

There is nothing that turns off and disengages an audience more than listening to someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about. And even if it is the case that you are an expert in the topic – you’ll come across as a novice if you don’t have confidence in what you are saying. When you are confident about yourself, you inspire others to have confidence in you.

There is plenty you can do to improve your confidence on stage, but of course the major key is to really know your topic inside-out.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Presentation Tips|Five practical tips to engage your audience at conference presentation2. Make your audience a part of the presentation

When your audience feels like they are a part of the presentation it actually increases their attention span and helps to keep them engaged.

One of the most effective ways to do this is to use an audience response system – this is a set of keypads that can be handed out to audience members. The audience can then use these remotes during the presentation to answer questions. You can then show polls in real time, or even keep them interested by grading them at the end of the talk.

You might worry about the cost or the technical challenges in incorporating this sort of system into your talk – but actually, it’s very easy. It is even possible to hire a system for a single presentation – which is ideal if you don’t attend many conferences.

3. Make your talk natural

Any decent advice on giving a conference presentation will tell you to get plenty of practice giving your talk. And of course, it is vital that remember all your key details and statistics, and that the presentation flows nicely. However, over-practicing your talk can present problems too – notably it can leave the talk feeling stiff and over-rehearsed.

Your talk shouldn’t sound like you are reading from a script, it should come across as natural and sound like a human is talking.

4. Avoid jargon wherever possible

One major engagement problem for engagement is the temptation to add jargon. Industry jargon naturally shows off your knowledge of the field and helps to display to your audience that you understand what you are talking about. But it can also be an issue in that you go overboard, and people won’t understand the points you are making.

Overusing industry terms and acronyms can be a problem, especially if they are not quite as commonly understood as you think. It is much better to allow all members of the audience to understand you.

5. Get your slides right

Your slideshow is a massive part of your presentation, so it vital that you get it right. Thankfully there are some simple things that every presenter should be doing to ensure that their slides are as simple and audience friendly as possible.

Firstly, you need to make sure you are only presenting one idea per slide – overcomplicating slides just confuses audiences. Additionally, you should ensure there are not too many words on the screen at any time; the slides are not there to be an exact replication of what you are saying, they are there to emphasise points.

7 Presentation Strategies to Skyrocket Your Career

If you are a professional working in business today then regardless of your industry, age or position you will be called on regularly to present your ideas to others. If it hasn’t begun yet then be patient, it will soon.

Whether it’s a team meeting, monthly update, a new initiative or project briefing there will be moments when everything you say and the way you say it matters. It is precisely that significance which leaves many professionals dreading the thought of presenting to colleagues and clients.

Instead of letting the prospect of sharing your thoughts and ideas with others invoke such anxiety consider the opportunity and value it offers you.

Many people would agree that far too many business presentations are too long and extremely tedious. With such a perspective being so prevalent in organisations today there is a huge opportunity to challenge the status quo and to stand out from the crowd.

The ability to connect emotionally as well as intellectually with others at work is arguably the most important skill in the world today. Imagine how quickly and how far you could climb the corporate ladder if you presented your ideas with confidence, creativity and impact. Set aside any personal angst you may have about presenting and public speaking and follow these 7 strategies to take your career to the next level.

1. Lose the ‘crystal ball’

As former executive of some of the UK’s most successful brands I was called on to present to colleagues and clients a great deal. After many years of sleepless nights trying to second guess what my audience actually wanted from me and how much they already knew I had an epiphany.

I started to ask them.

I realised that I could craft and deliver what I considered to be the most relevant, powerful and even entertaining presentation but if it wasn’t what my audience wanted or needed I was wasting my time and theirs.

2. Build it like a Tipi

One of the many reasons that so many business presentations aren’t as engaging as they should be is because they lack focus and structure.

The aboriginal tipi is an amazing feat of indigenous engineering. It is constructed using a number of poles but its core strength emanates from the 3 largest poles which provide the support structure.

I often consider a great presentation akin to a well-constructed tipi which has been built using many poles. The 3 largest and most important poles of presenting will determine the impact and memorability of your presentation.

  • What do you want your audience to think?
  • How do you want your audience to feel?
  • What do you want your audience to do?

3. Think like a tweet

Have you ever had someone strongly recommend a book for you to read and when you ask them what it’s about they can’t really explain it. Business presentations can be a little like that as the speaker talks you through 30 slides without clarity of their message.

We live in a world of social media and a great practice to get into is clarifying and writing your key message down in less than 140 characters. That won’t be the way you present it of course but it will ensure that everything you say focuses around that core message.

4. Craft a conversation

Another reason many business presentations are considered tedious is because they are crafted and delivered as lectures. In other words the audience is spoken at for the full 20 minutes.

Craft a conversation instead.

Ask them questions, get them involved and seek their opinion don’t just talk at them.

5. Be different

If the information, insights or ideas you have can be communicated easily in an email then respect your audience’s time and send them one. If however, presenting to them face to face will help you to bring your message to life and really connect with them then make it different.

  • Don’t use bullet points – Use powerful images
  • Make it personal to them
  • Tell them something they don’t know
  • Tell them stories
  • Use video’s, props or get them doing something
  • Ask thought provoking questions

6. Practice

By practicing I don’t mean memorise a script. There are 3 central elements to work on when practising:

  • Content – Get to know your message, supporting points and content inside out.
  • Verbal – Stretch and challenge your voice as much as you possibly can. Try out a few vocal exercises on the internet. Read a few passages from your favourite book in as many different ways as you can. Read with, passion, excitement, as though you were angry, etc. Change your pace, volume, intonation and practice pausing.
  • Move – Practice the way you move. Get some feedback on your eye contact, facial expressions, hand gestures and the way you use the space you have.

7. Have some fun

Unless you are reading a eulogy or making people redundant business presentations don’t have to be deadly serious all of the time. You can deliver a really important and serious message whilst still lightening up a little, adding a touch of humour and making sure that both you and your audience enjoy it.

About the Author

Maurice De CastroMaurice De Castro is a former corporate executive of some of the UK’s most successful brands. Maurice believes that the route to success in any organisation lies squarely in its ability to really connect with people. That’s why he left the boardroom to create a business helping leaders to do exactly that. Learn more at