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Comments Off on Your Business Meeting Could Learn A Thing Or Two From Higher Education

I don’t need to quote any statistics on this because we all know it in our bones: Most business meetings waste a lot of time and kill productivity.

  • 31% of meeting time is spent on things that do not involve all participants.  These should be addressed outside of the meeting.
  • 68% of presenters in meetings are unprepared; 100% of participants can see it.
  • 82% of presentations include the phrase, “This is too small to see, but . . .”
  • 94% of presentations are too long.
  • Most statistics are pulled out of thin air . . . including all of the above.

Regardless of the technology used for the meeting, we could all take a lesson from the TED Talks:

  • Presentations MUST be short (18 minutes or less).
  • Presenters use no notes.
  • Presenters are “naked” before the audience – there is no lectern or table for them to hide behind.
  • Presentations are vetted beforehand to assure that they meet the requirements established by the TED organization (innovative, surprising, challenging an existing belief, a basic idea with a compelling new argument, interesting).
  • Presenters should start by making the audience CARE, using a relatable example or intriguing idea, and end by addressing how what was presented could affect the audience if they were to accept it.

Still, even good presentations, being largely one-directional (from the presenter to the audience) waste precious “face time.” What I mean is that if there are six people in a room for a meeting and one person is doing all the talking, the right mode of delivery is a broadcast – a pre-recorded video that the other five people in the room can watch at their convenience.

But meetings usually aren’t 100% one-directional, there is discussion and collaboration, too.  These activities are where the real work in face-to-face meetings is done.  This is where the time of everyone involved is treated with respect and where few people distract themselves with multi-tasking.

So, here is a better way: Video record the presentation beforehand, require that everyone watches the video and makes a written response; save the face time for collaboration and discussion.  This is the flipped classroom model 

Presenters, keep it short.  Distill your ideas. Use metaphors and common references to get your point across. And keep it short.  Make it interesting and varied. And, most importantly, keep it short. Really. Short.

Viewers honor the effort that went into the short, concise video, and give it your full attention while watching.  Make some notes – either online in the comments, or in your notebook – to help guide the collaboration and discussion time.

Businesses and Organizations, start putting these basic requirements on EVERYONE, including your guests and vendors who want your business.  We are talking about a cultural change here. It will not be accomplished by mere wishing.

Finally, if you’re not sure how to get started – if you feel like making this kind of change is impossible – get some help from Greenline Emeritus Consulting.

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