The value of face-to-face meetings in the digital age
Deviate from emails and messaging apps first
Jan 5, 2017
Technology is at the core of every millennial. Everything is measured in mbps and gigabytes. Information is passed on faster and more efficient than ever. This is why meetings—either for brainstorming, updates, or sealing deals—have been evolving through the years. From Facebook groups to video calls and messaging apps, young professionals have sought out other ways to relay a message to their respective teams instead of meeting face-to-face. But what are the advantages of holding a real meeting and when is it vital for a team to meet personally?
According to an article published by the Harvard Business Review entitled “How to Run a Meeting,” some ethologists recognize that the social mind has a creative power, too. A group of people meeting together can often produce better ideas, plans, and decisions than a single individual, or a number of individuals, each working alone.
However, in this day and age when sitting down and discussing for hours has become a sign of wasted time, managers and team leaders are continuously finding new ways to conduct meetings for high productivity and efficiency. All over the globe, team leaders are trying to innovate the formal meeting set-up in order to capture the attention of boredom-prone millennials.
Meetings can be costly, both in terms of money and time. It’s best to plan carefully before you schedule a meeting. Ask yourself: What is the objective of your meeting? Determine the agenda and make sure it’s measurable. If you can resolve it through e-mail or a quick one-on-one discussion, skip it.
There are different functions of a meeting and several ways to run one in order to meet your objectives. One is to provide more information to your team. If discourse is needed, meeting face-to-face has the advantage. Brainstorm but make sure your team has been briefed well before entering a meeting as to not waste everyone’s time. For creative brainstorming, an encouraging setting is a priority. Stray away from the four white walls of your office and take your team out. An executive practice done through the years is the power lunch. This technique is not only applicable to lunch breaks per se; it can be a meeting over breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even coffee. Make your break more productive with good food, maybe some libations, and an over ow of ideas on the dining table. It won’t feel like a meeting at the end of the day.
For more pressing matters like status updates on projects and urgent decision making, kick your chairs and conduct a standing or walking meeting. This fast-paced world is not slowing down anytime soon. It is best to make the most out of every minute of every day. As cited in the 1999 paper published by the University of Missouri researchers in the Journal of Applied Psychology, meetings are 34 percent shorter if you’re standing up. This technique is effective in eliminating distractions from your smartphones and laptops. While walking, a person will concentrate more on the walking and the conversation at hand. These shorter and more efficient meetings can be done more frequently within the week compared to wasting two or more hours sitting and squeezing each other’s brains out in one day.
Every meeting has an agenda, it is best to wrap it up at the end of each meeting and clarify some points no matter how short or long they are. Reiterate deadlines and schedule follow-up meetings if needed.
This story was originally published in Southern Living, August 2015.
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