Ever find yourself with meeting fatigue—battling the all day or half day meeting that leaves you mentally numb? It’s common to feel drained after too much time spent in a chair and continually processing information. I noticed it recently in an all day planning session—energy levels dropped, discussions became shorter and shorter, and productivity plummeted. This got me thinking... what are some simple and practical solutions? How can you maintain the momentum, encourage continued engagement, AND walk out of a long meeting feeling mentally energized?
Here is a top five list of moves to combat the dead meet:
THE MEET CUTTER
Schedule several brief breaks into your meeting’s agenda:
- Take a walk
- Step outside
- Make small talk
- Do a few stretches
- Scroll through social media or play a game on your phone, anything that won’t take up brain power but will allow you to decompress
THE GARNISHED MEET
Provide small snacks, gum, and refreshments:
- Arrange non-messy eats in the center of the meeting table where they can be easily accessed
- Include a small table elsewhere in the room with drinks like water, green tea and coffee, and a variety of energy-boosting snacks such as fruits, dark chocolate, granola bars, and nut mixes. (This is key because people will need to get out of their seat and walk over to it, which in and of itself can help provide a nice boost of energy)
- Try to avoid sugary treats as they can often make people crash and burn, especially in an all day meeting
THE MEET GRAZER
Encourage attendees to stand and move around as they participate. I personally think best while pacing, if given the space or “okay” to move around freely in a meeting, I am a much more productive participant. Studies, such as this one by Stanford, link movement to creativity.
THE FRESH MEET
Vary your activities and approach. Integrate individual tasks between larger group activities in order to keep people active and interested. Mix analog with digital, discussions with personal reflection, and so on. Incorporate elements that engage multiple senses.
- In all day meetings, suggest changing seats halfway through the day
- Play music in the background during activities when appropriate
- Wear bright colors and/or use colorful accents—anything from the cups to a tablecloth to the markers you use on a whiteboard
THE WRAPPED MEET
Stay focused on the task at hand. Engage as a present and active participant, even if just listening.
- Avoid multitasking—most people do not do it effectively. Focusing on too many different things at once can drain your mental capacity and work against the meeting.
- Use your hands. Try taking handwritten notes or squeezing a stress ball. This can help you become more focused and engaged by providing a break from the digital mindset and a nice tension release. Books like The Creativity Cure advocate for these types of experiences to get creative juices flowing.
Hopefully these offerings will serve you well. Have other tips you’d like to mention? We’d love to hear them! Comment below on how you boost energy in your meetings.