Company meetings are both beloved and bothersome; fruitful yet frivolous. Finding the right way to keep your team’s attention without making the process arduous or simply wasting the team’s time is a fine art. Yet unfortunately, most companies lack that certain je ne sais quoi that adds the perfect gusto to the team’s workflow gathering. So what are the world’s most innovative companies doing in their company meetings that most aren’t?
Secrets to Successful Meetings
Apple says “you can’t sit with us.”
One trick Apple geniuses use in their meetings is keeping it small. They like to keep their invites to under 10 smart folks. More is certainly not merrier for these guys. They keep their groups to just the people they need to be present in order to keep on track for particular topics. I guess if you’re a Google employee with nothing for the good of the order to contribute to their miniature-meetings, you shouldn’t take it too hard if they tell you to scram.
3M thinks recess is the best time of the day.
Since 1948, 3M has offered employees 15% paid time to get their creative juices flowing out like Mount Vesuvius’s lava. I mean, they’re been giving their employees free time and space that have led to decades of successful sales and industry-leading product engineering. You have to admit, meetings can get boring. Structure and purpose hinder that innovative free-thinker so it only makes sense that having that time to breathe can pump fresh ideas into their noggins.
Facebook keeps its employees on their toes.
The quintessential social media company, Facebook, thinks that the best way to think is on your feet…literally. That’s why they refuse to take a seat while they hold their meetings. Plus, one study found that standing during meetings made employees more excited about work, interacted better with each other, and was less “territorial” over their ideas. Every day, Facebook staff join a 12pm 15-minute meeting on their feet. Maybe it helps people stand up for their ideas, too.
Amazon parted ways with PowerPoint.
Let’s face it. PowerPoints are snooze-fests normally despite how valuable the actual information is. The only one who truly benefits from a PowerPoint presentation overloaded with info is the presenters themselves. CEO and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has completely banned the use of PowerPoint in his meetings. Now, if only college professors would follow in his lead then a lot of students probably wouldn’t skip out on their monotone 8 am lectures.
American Express operates on objectives.
For American Express staff, they operate their meetings, sans any monkey business. This American credit card company goes to the express-lane directly to “The Point Ville.” If they can’t describe what they’re gathering about in five words or less, then they choose to refocus.
Nike doodles their way into just doing it.
Mark Parker, CEO of Nike, apparently comes to his meetings equipped with a notebook and pen when he’s present in his company meetings. After all, one study found that those who doodle during lectures are able to retain about 30% more than ones who don’t. So next time you see a colleague sketching during a work brief, maybe they’re just drawing inspiration.
The white house says “hold the phone.”
80% of people 18-44 keep their phones with them 22 hours a day. The distraction is enough to bother every company’s president. But, it also is a huge no-no for our country’s president, too. In fact, Barack Obama makes all attendees of the cabinet meetings a cell phone-free event. All members must drop them in a basket until the end of the meeting.
So what can our workplaces learn from some of the world’s most innovative powerhouses? Maybe that we should keep our meetings on target, keep active to help maintain sharp problem-solving skills, avoid distractions from laptops and phones, and completely cut out the insipid and feckless.