Five ways CEOs suggest that make your meetings more efficient

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By Papri Das 

Corporate lifestyle and meetings go hand in hand. Where there’s a bunch of suited executives, there are bound to be conference rooms. Because it is behind these closed doors where execs brain-storm multi-million dollar strategies for brands and companies. In a day and age when time is money, efficiency is of utmost important and from there arises the question - How does one organise an efficient meeting? This crucial question was posed recently by J W Marriott chief sales and marketing officer Peggy Fang Roe.  Roe went on to introduce a new concept by the hotel called ‘Meetings Imagined’ - a website and app that assists event planners and organisers in putting up that perfect meeting.

Taking a leaf out of Roe’s discussion,’s Exec Lifestyle decided to ask a few media executives and event planners on the challenges that they face in organising an efficient meeting and how they overcome those challenges. Here’s a list of common but crucial issues faced by executives in calling a meeting and their remedies:

1) Know what you are walking into:

Most executives unanimously agreed that nine out of 10 of their worst meeting experiences were because they were agenda-less. Well known venture capitalist, investor and entrepreneur Mahesh Murthy shares, “It is very essential to call for an objective oriented meeting, and see to it that the objectives are fulfilled by the end of it.” Now, how does one go about doing that? “A little planning and exchanging information prior to the meeting is all it takes,” he puts simply. Staying prepared with the content of the meeting will definitely help you wrap your head around the meeting.

2) Technology should be seamless and invisible:

Dealing with technological shortcomings in a meeting is a big ‘No’ specially when there is some actual ideation happening in it. Just imagine yourself ready to give that perfect presentation and the projector lamp starts acting up. Technological glitches in a meeting shift the room's attention from the agenda at hand taking away from the creative process. It almost leaves you at the mercy of the tech guys, who miraculously come and fix things in a jiffy. To avoid this, one needs to check if all the gadgets in the room are up and running, because more often than not it’sthe minor setup issues that cause the most trouble.

3) Keep a stopwatch:

How often have you found yourself in a meeting where a speaker drones on and on. Five minutes into it and they have already lost your attention. You can’t help yourself from frequently checking the time and asking yourself, ‘When will this be over?’ Unfortunately, it’s a common practice to let a speaker finish all they need to (or don’t need to) say specially if they are your bosses. However, our execs beg to differ. “It’s perfectly alright to time the speakers in a meeting, as people tend to make more relevant points when they have limited time,” quips Twitter India head of communications Rohan Vyavaharkar.

4) Bridge that gap:

Another common problem faced by executives in a meeting is to get people involved. When it comes to ideation, more often than not, we find only one person delivering while others hesitate and shy away from sharing their ideas. Several CEOs pointed out that doing away with the podium and hand held microphone is the first step to reaching out to the other attendees in a meeting. This will encourage them to contribute more. SeekSherpa CEO Dhruv Raj Gupta adds that having a feedback session after every meeting, where one shares what they have personally gathered from the experience, is a healthy way to invite opinions.

5) Tickle those grey cells:

“Have meetings without chairs,” says Murthy. “It takes people off their comfort zone and in turn brings their attention to the matter at hand. It also makes you more alert and attentive.” Games2win CEO and co-founder Alok Kejrival derails himself from the tried and tested measures and suggests something out of the box. “I see potential in gamifying meetings and even allow jesters and entertainers to come and break the monotony. Honestly, there are endless possibilities in this arena.” Others believe that a little change from the same old board room setting, or simply changing the furniture of the place can be a great way to inspire people in a meeting. So, board meetings on bean bags are more than welcome!

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