Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
We all poke fun at meetings. They’re regularly ridiculed for wasting time and giving employees nothing better to do than stare into space.
And yet, a good meeting creates progress.
A deal, an action plan, a sign-off, the creation of fresh ideas… whatever the reason for calling a meeting, it has the potential to propel tasks and projects forwards.
But while collaborations are indeed essential, they don’t always have to follow the same old meeting format.
In fact, that’s often where problems creep in. Too many meetings around a table or over a video call can stifle creativity and reduce productivity. They can also take up a lot of time and energy.
That’s why it pays to change things from time to time.
Here are some alternative meeting types to try this year:
- Walking meetings
Best for: Brainstorming new ideas, overcoming challenges.
The idea is to get outside and talk while you’re walking or moving. The combination of fresh air, different scenery, and physical movement can help stimulate creativity. Research has shown that walking meetings increase creativity by 81-100% and specifically enables “divergent thinking” – the type of thinking that allows a person to get out of a rut and think more freely and openly.
It’s good for your health, too. Walking as a physical activity can improve mental health, particularly depression, stress, and anxiety, as well as cardiovascular health, weight loss, and diabetes.
- Online meetings
Best for: Brevity.
This is a type of meeting that needs no introduction, so we’ll keep it brief. In fact, that’s exactly what online meetings are best for. Have you ever tried to focus on tiny faces on your laptop screen for more than an hour? After all, that’s one reason why Zoom caps its free meetings to 40 minutes (and it’s not just to encourage paid subscriptions).
For quick check-ins, project updates, and introductions, an online meeting brings your people together without the time and cost of travelling to a centralized meeting venue (or the hassle of ironing your business wear).
- Working meetings
Best for: Productivity, team collaboration, support.
A working meeting involves doing the work, rather than just planning or talking about it. They’re typically one hour or more and involve blocking out time in each person’s calendar to work on a specific task or project together.
The idea is that each person works on their own task and has other project members within easy reach for questions or support. This can be done online through a group video call, although larger and more complex projects may benefit from a few hours in-person together in a meeting room.
It’s a great way to get focused, set aside other distractions, and accomplish key tasks to move a project forwards.
- Celebratory meetings
Best for: Rewarding people, team cohesion, building relationships.
Once per year, or more if your budget allows, get your team together for a mix of business and fun. Book a day or an evening somewhere a little out of the ordinary – like a spa hotel or a private room at a good restaurant – and update your team on overall business performance along with key plans for the next 6 or 12 months.
Once you’ve done the ‘business bit’, it’s over to teambuilding, sports or spa activities, and dinner. It’s a great way to reward your people, celebrate achievements, and strengthen team relationships.
Pro tip: While everyone is together, book a photographer to take up-to-date photos for your staff profiles and blog.
- Coffee catch-ups
Best for: One-to-one check-in, prioritizing tasks, wellness.
Working life is busy. It’s easy to let the weeks and months slip by. You think your team members are doing just great… until they’re not. It’s not always easy to talk about a too-heavy workload or the pressure of falling behind deadlines. That’s why regular informal check-ins are important.
A 30-minute catch-up over coffee is a great way to talk work without necessarily talking about work. Use it to figure out if your people are okay, or if they’re finding things tough. If you work remotely, send your employees a coffee voucher and schedule a video call over a cup of said coffee. However you check-in, your people will thank you for it.
How to find a great meeting room
Whether you’re looking for a quiet ‘Zoom room’ or a luxury boardroom to impress your guests, our partner, Alliance Virtual Offices, can help. Their network of professionally staffed business centers offers meeting rooms in 1200+ locations. Book online by the hour, half day or full day. Search and select a room through their website or chat online with their friendly team.