Riveting meetingWe have all been there. The meeting. A room full of folks listening to a speaker, occasionally taking the baton and sharing some insight, knowledge or point of view — but generally the talk is all one-way.

Research, however, shows us that it is actually the speakers who  benefit from the time that they spend in meetings — retaining 90% of what they share. Events like staff meetings, team get-togethers, lectures and the like continue to be a fact of office life because they benefit the talker who dominates them — the speaker benefits enormously because the act of speaking fires up , improves their own knowledge retention and it also provides them with ample opportunities for an “a-ha moment” — where a piece of the business puzzle falls into place.

But what about the rest of the people in the room? The listeners unfortunately retain only 5% of what was said. It seems that monologues go against the working of our brains. And the sense that this is “just another meeting” (as Seth Godin would call it) just serves to reinforce the sense that all the talk is killing meetings.

But there is a better way but it does mean going outside of your comfort zone. Here are three simple things that you can do change the dynamics of your leadership team meetings:

  1. Turn it on its head — break up the responsibility for different sections of the meeting by asking others to chair some items.
  2. Get them laughing — humor not only brings you together, it also increases your level of openness. If you want your meetings to be about getting things done, humor is a great way to mix things up.
  3. Turn the light on — many meetings rely on PowerPoint presentations, with dim lights and a focus on the projection screen. Turn the lights up, wake your team and get them talking about the problem and its resolution rather than passively reading what’s on the wall.

Nina Nets It Out: Studies have shown that meetings work best for speakers and not for listeners. So to amp up the productivity of your leadership meetings there are simple things you can do. Let me know what else works for you!