Make Your Meetings Matter: 10 Tips For More Engaging Meetings
“The world is run by those willing to sit until the end of meetings.” – Hugh Park
Some days, it seems like meetings are universally hated. They’re too long, they’re too boring, or they’re too pointless. But the truth is meetings matter.
Meetings get everyone on the same page, sharing ideas, and push productivity forward. If you really want to make them effective, however, you need to find a way to make your meeting pain-free. To help, we put together 10 simple tips for more engaging meetings:
1. Keep it Short
A meeting should only be as long as it needs to be, otherwise, it goes off track. P.T. Barnum’s “Always leave them wanting more,” applies to meetings well. When a meeting goes too long, people lose focus and interest. This leaves them dissatisfied and it can feel like you’re wasting their time.
For some meetings, like a daily scrum, you can even use a countdown clock to stay on task/on schedule.
2. Have a Plan
If you want your meeting to run smoothly, you should always have a plan. Know what you want to achieve with the meeting, outlining clear goals. As well, preparing an agenda can help guide you through what needs to be discussed. It’s a great way to stay on task and keep the meeting moving.
3. Smart Scheduling
In a busy office, scheduling is the first hurdle of any meeting. You need to make sure the meeting doesn’t conflict with others’ schedules, and that a meeting room is available. This is a little easier for standing meetings, since people know to plan around them. But booking them on the fly is more of a challenge.
Where possible, it’s worth trying to schedule them away from other meetings. If someone has a pressing call or meeting coming up right after yours, they’ll be distracted and won’t focus on yours.
4. Use Technology
Visuals and presentations can do a lot for making meetings more engaging and interesting. Take advantage of meeting rooms with screens to use video and powerpoint. These help you leave a lasting impression and maintain their attention.
5. Engage People
A good meeting isn’t a lecture, it’s a discussion. While one person needs to be clearly running the dialogue and keeping it on task, you should involve the participants. Deliberately engaging people, asking them questions or for example, keeps them interested and involved.
6. Invite Only the People Who Need to be There
You may not want to exclude people. But the truth is, if someone doesn’t need to be in the meeting, they’ll feel that you’re wasting their time. This can leave a lot of dissatisfaction and their negative energy can distract others.
The exception is people who can learn from being at the meeting. For instance, an intern or new employee may not have a lot to add to some meetings, but they may be able to benefit from the experience. A good learning experience is a worthwhile reason to invite someone to a meeting.
7. Feed Them
You don’t need to offer food for every meeting, especially short ones. But, if you’re having a meeting through lunch or a long morning meeting, consider catering. When people get hungry, they get distracted. When you feed them, it leaves positive feelings and can increase participation. It’s a nice reward for going to the meeting.
Even having snacks out can go a long way. At The Professional Centre, we can handle arrangements for catering in all our meeting room rental spaces.
8. High-Quality Audio/Video
This is especially important if you have team members conference calling in by phone or webcam. Good audio/video technology in a meeting room prevents dropped calls and unclear audio.
Having to ask people to repeat themselves constantly is detrimental to communication and takes away from your meeting. Clear, fluid communication tools keep things moving along without a hitch.
Note: If using webcam communications, make sure your meeting room rental has high-speed internet.
Comfort is another important factor in meetings. The longer the meeting goes, the more important this becomes. It’s worthwhile booking a meeting space with ergonomic seats and lots of natural light. These help to reduce distractions and keep people engaged.
10. The Minutes
Like a story, any good meeting needs an ending. At the end of your meeting, wrap it up. Review what the meeting accomplished, as well as any plans and timelines moving forward.
This has a dual purpose. Most importantly it helps you get the maximum benefit from the meeting, ensuring that it generates results and a clear plan of action. As an added benefit, it also leaves people feeling like the meeting accomplished something, increasing their enthusiasm for future meetings.
It’s not just coworkers and freelancers who benefit from booking on demand meeting rooms. More and more often, even companies in traditional offices are turning to on demand meeting room rentals. It’s a great way to avoid overbooked rooms, and lets you have a fully upgraded, well-designed space for your most important meetings.
Remote work has exploded over the last decade. As a digitally dominated workplace unchains workers from traditional workspaces, this trend has become the norm. And the growth is increasing exponentially.
Back in 2012, 39% of full-time workers worked remotely at least once per week. By 2018, that number rose to 70%.
The above stats don’t include self-employed workers or contractors. Even enterprise companies are renting coworking and remote office spaces. Remote work is convenient, affordable, and effective. And this trend is only expected to see continued growth. Especially with Toronto’s difficult market for office rental space.
We take a look at how to keep motivated as a remote worker:
9. Have A Routine
Whether you’re working at home or simply without direct supervision, procrastination is a big temptation. While remote work is proven to be more productive, it can be harder to get your day started.
Stanford economist Tim Bloom explains how working remotely increases productivity
Having a morning routine is the best way to make sure you get your day started properly. For most, this just means following the normal way you might start a traditional workday. For example:
Skip the ‘snooze button’
Have a shower
Grab your coffee
It’s not always easy starting a new routine but stick with it. According to The New Psycho Cybernetics, by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, it only takes 21 days to form a new habit.
8. Set Goals
Setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself to get things done. When setting goals, think in steps. Setting your goal as, “I want to complete X project,” is too large for good motivation.
Instead, break that project down into smaller sections. Create goals by scheduling all the steps you need to accomplish larger projects. In fact, setting up that schedule can be your first task!
Having goals to work on throughout the day keeps you on task and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
7. Reward Yourself
Now that you’re about to become a goal-crushing machine, you better get ready to reward yourself. Of course, you’ll want to set the rewards appropriately for the task at hand.
For instance, you might reward the completion of a large project with a night out. But that would be too extreme for completing a small task like creating a project timeline.
More common reward-based thinking is enough to keep you motivated, but not so much to distract you. Instead of getting a second coffee before starting a task, tell yourself you’ll earn that coffee once you complete it.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Remote workers are prone to working long hours, and that can contribute to an overwhelmingly underslept workforce. Getting enough sleep is an important indicator of workplace wellness. Too little can lead to employee burn-out, as well as a decrease in work quality and productivity.
Adults require a bare minimum of 6 hours of sleep per night. One of the best ways to improve your sleep is to have clear sleep patterns. Have a consistent bedtime and try to limit screen time before bed.
If working from home, having a dedicated home office is ideal. This creates a clear divide between your workspace and sleep space.
Your work environment has a direct impact on the quality and efficiency of your work. You want a clean, organized, well-lit, professional space that is dedicated to working. This space should minimize distractions and focus on productivity.
Many remote workers choose to work out of a Toronto coworking space. These spaces have all the professional equipment and services you might need, as well as an atmosphere that fosters creativity and productivity.
4. Surround Yourself With Motivated People
A big benefit of a coworking space is that you surround yourself with highly motivated people. This helps to boost your own motivation, as well as helping you grow your professional network.
When there are people around you who are working hard, it helps keep you on task. As well, they’re a great source for learning new trends, techniques, and skills that can help you.
3. Don’t Be Stagnant/Go Outside
It’s important to mix things up once in a while. It’s a good way to shake ideas loose and keep your head in the zone. A quick walk outside can clear up the mid-afternoon brain fog.
In a coworking office, many people choose not to get a dedicated desk. This allows them to switch things up day-to-day, as well as helping them meet new people to exchange ideas, boosting their skills and network.
Even those working out of a virtual office can mix things up. People who take advantage of the virtual mailbox services at coworking spaces have access to the lounge. This gives them a great place to do work and keeping themselves accessible.
2. Have The Right Tools
They say a shoddy workman blames his tools — but any self-respecting workman has the right tools for the job. For a remote office, you must have the right equipment and services for success.
This is one of the reasons coworking offices are so sought after by remote workers. They offer top-of-the-line equipment at a fraction of the cost of buying your own. As well, they offer a wide range of support services ranging from IT to bookkeeping.
1. Be Accountable
One of the most important things for successful remote work is being accountable. This is especially important if the remote work program is new.
Being accountable increases trust in you and the program itself. It’s a highly efficient business model, but many employers are skeptical when starting out.
Find Remote Office Space In Toronto
The Professional Centre offers prime remote office space in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District. Our coworking spaces boast top-of-the-line design and capability, making it ideal for any worker.
Book a tour now and discover how TPC can boost your remote work.
Staying Professional as a Freelancer
There’s a misconception among outsiders that freelancing is only for people who are between jobs or looking for experience. But freelancers know the truth. Yes, there are ups and downs, and all sorts of challenges — but nothing beats being your own boss.
Flexible schedules, control of self and personal freedom is a rewarding lifestyle. But too often, clients fail to appreciate the level of expertise and professionalism a good freelancer possesses. To maintain relationships and grow your personal brand, you need to present a professional appearance.
As one of Toronto’s top coworking spaces, and home to freelancers like you, we offer some key tips to stay professional as a freelancer.
Hone Your Online Presence
Nowadays, it’s pretty common for people’s first impression of you to occur online. You need to make sure this digital impression paints you in the right light. Your digital footprint should inspire confidence and trust in potential clients and partners.
Any good brand has a good website. It should be clean, professional, and easy to navigate. While it’s nice to be able to hire a team of developers and designers to build out the perfect site, you can get by without it.
Many website building sites allow you to purchase professional templates at low costs, often from $25-$200. It’s a low price to pay for something that, if done thoughtfully and with appealing content, imagery and site structure, will help you stand out from the competition.
Social Media Presence
Managing all the top social media platforms can be a full-time gig. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a social media guru to succeed as a freelancer.
It’s a good idea to grab social media handles for top sites like Twitter and Instagram, as well as for any social media platforms you may want to use in the future.
It’s okay if you aren’t using them all right away, but make sure to update the images and information to match your brand. If possible, try and get the same handle across all platforms.
Two areas you will likely want to establish a presence are a Facebook page and a LinkedIn page. These help to get you discovered online, as well as increasing trust and credibility.
If you provide a local service, setting yourself up on Google My Business and Bing Places will help you show up on map applications and appear in local searches. And, as a bonus, they’re free tools.
First Contact Points
The first contact you have with a client can set the tone for the entire relationship. And while you may be a great talker in person or even over the phone, you aren’t always available. You need to take stock of where and how people may first speak with you.
Freelancing keeps you busy. As available as you may try to be, plenty of calls will go to voicemail. Having a strong, professional voicemail greeting can help establish confidence in your capabilities.
Consider writing out a script before recording. As well, check the acoustics of the room to make sure your voice is clear.
As well, you may want to consider a virtual secretary. This is part of a virtual office that forwards your calls through a secretary to increase your professional image.
If you are doing location-based business or are likely to have many meetings, your mailing address has an effect on clients. It looks good to be easily available, so it’s nice to have a downtown address. As well, being in a desirable location, like Toronto’s Financial District, can boost your professional appearance.
Of course, renting professional office space in downtown Toronto isn’t in everyone’s budget. But any business can afford a virtual mailbox. This virtual office address allows you to have a high-end address. It also gives you access to a host of other services, and even a lounge area to work in.
If you expect to be meeting clients in person or want to network, it’s worthwhile renting office space. A shared office space is an affordable way for freelancers to get their own professional space in the city.
A coworking space is a great alternative to the home office. It makes it easier to stay productive, helps you build a network, and creates a more professional image.
One of the challenges of freelancing, especially out of a home office, is divided attention. You can have a lot going on in your home, but it’s important to give your clients full attention while interacting with them. That means you don’t want the TV, kids, radio, etc in the background while communicating with clients.
As well, make sure to dress appropriately. Freelancers enjoy the freedom to dress comfortably, and it’s a hard habit to break. But when meeting with clients, even over Skype, it’s worth being presentable.
There’s no need to go all out. But a clean, professional attire and proper grooming help to show that you care. For many clients, how you present yourself is a show of respect that matters to them.
Having a good meeting space adds legitimacy to your business. Meeting clients in your kitchen isn’t a great look. It’s inconvenient and unprofessional.
Fortunately, professional meeting spaces are available for rent, even if you don’t have rent a shared office space. Meeting room rentals can benefit companies of all sizes, from freelancers to enterprises. High-quality design and modern technology set a professional tone for any meeting. Rentals are available by the hour by the day.
Clients, partners, and investors all place a lot of value on reliability. So any successful freelancer makes meeting deadlines a top priority. This helps to ensure repeat business and grow your reputation through word-of-mouth.
Staying organized and keeping an easy-to-read schedule is ideal for giving realistic projections for when you can complete a project.
Know When to Say No
It’s a hard lesson to learn, but it’s one every freelancer figures out eventually. You have to be willing to say no. That can mean saying no to jobs, timelines, payscales, or other factors. You need to manage expectations right out of the gate.
Accepting jobs where you can’t meet deadlines or expectations can damage your professional reputation. As well, it’s a major stress that can affect your other jobs.
You also want to make sure the pay scale matches your efforts. In a lot of freelance industries, there isn’t an industry standard for pay. Your value is where you value yourself. So don’t sell yourself short.
Build Your Professional Image With A Downtown Toronto Coworking Space
A Toronto coworking office makes you accessible, flexible, and professional. Enhance your reputation and capabilities with a coworking office rental. It’s the best value in professional office space for rent, and it’s sure to impress you and your clients.
Book a tour now and discover how The Professional Centre can boost your freelancing business.
Client Meeting Checklist
Whether it’s a potential new buyer or progress reporting, it’s common to get nervous before a client meeting. Especially if you’re feeling unprepared.
We’re taking stock of the lessons we’ve learned from the thousands of meetings held at our Toronto meeting room rentals and we put them together in a quick, easy-to-follow client meeting checklist:
The first thing you need for a successful client meeting is to determine what the meeting should achieve. What are the primary goals of the meeting? This may include goals like:
Making a sale (to the client)
Clearing up confusion
In addition to the goal, you should prepare your intended outcome. Know what you want the client to walk away from this meeting thinking, doing, and saying.
Everyone on your team should be aware of the purpose and desired outcome of your meeting.
2. Choose Lead
If multiple people are involved from your team, there needs to be one person in charge. This person takes the lead on the presentation, introducing, concluding, and fielding questions.
That doesn’t mean the lead has to talk the whole time. The meeting lead can act as a host, introducing and wrapping up the meeting, while introducing specialists to discuss specific details. This keeps everything organized and shows a strong team dynamic.
The next item on the checklist is the agenda – a schedule or outline for the meeting. This helps you keep the meeting on task and moving towards your goal. Think of it as an index for your meeting.
A sample agenda for a new client meeting could look like:
Elevator pitch of your business
Outline the goals of the meeting
Field any questions
Not every meeting needs to have a PowerPoint. But every meeting does involve some sort of presenting. Whether creating an action plan or pitching new business, it helps to have your key talking points planned out and ready.
Preparing information in advance gives the client piece of mind. It also shows that you have put time and thought into their meeting, demonstrating that you value them.
Going up and, “winging it” never inspires the same confidence. Even if your improvised solutions would have been just as good, it doesn’t have the same effect as a prepared presentation.
If you do need a PowerPoint, it’s important to make sure your meeting room has the right technology. How many presentations have you seen where connections don’t work, WiFi is too slow, or programs don’t open? It’s never a good look.
It’s essential to have a meeting venue with all the right technology for PowerPoint and slides. That means having wired and wireless connections for presentation screens. These connections must have options for both Mac & PC. As well, make sure your meeting room has high-speed internet. Waiting around for presentations, links or videos to open interrupts the flow and professionalism of your presentation.
Also, consider other technology you might need. Teleconferencing and webcam chats are commonplace in modern meeting rooms. So you want to make sure your communication options are ready to go. As well, offline solutions, like whiteboards, can provide great benefit to meetings – especially those involving brainstorming.
The right technology should be found in the meeting space you choose:
5. Meeting Space
Technology is just one of the important considerations when choosing your meeting space. You must also consider the impression of your business you are presenting. The meeting room you choose can either impress or distress your client.
A professional, well-designed, technologically advanced meeting space inspires confidence in your business. It shows professionalism, implies success, and demonstrates respect to the client.
As well, consider spacing. This can have a big subliminal impact on the meeting. Oversized or undersized meeting rooms are poor choices. Too small of a space is cramped and uncomfortable. Too large of a space feels empty – it can leave your presentation feeling underwhelming.
Getting the space right makes a more natural psychological fit, making the meeting a more pleasant, and persuasive, experience. So it’s worthwhile to have options for different sizes and types of meeting rooms.
If your building’s meeting venues are overbooked or underwhelming, it’s worth finding rental meeting space.
The little things matter. Providing some simple comforts makes your meeting more enjoyable, promoting a better experience for clients. A little extra effort in providing comforts takes your meeting to the next tier.
Coffee and water are, of course, staples of any meeting. For longer meetings, it’s worthwhile having snacks or even considering catering. The best Toronto meeting room rentals can arrange catering for you, so you can keep your focus on the content of the meeting.
7. Meeting Room Rentals
When it comes to a successful client meeting, the little details matter. Of course, you want to put the bulk of your efforts on the meeting itself.
That’s where rental meeting space shines. Our meeting room rentals in Toronto take care of all the other details, so you can put your focus on the content of your client meeting.
Why Any Company Can Benefit From Renting Meeting Venues
Disney, Microsoft, Amazon, Google: Some of today’s biggest business empires started in garages.
Everyone loves the story of humble beginnings leading to undeniable success. But garages don’t inspire confidence in the people new businesses need to impress. And you can bet that’s not where they met with investors & clients.
From start-ups with big dreams to enterprises with multiple offices, any company can benefit from renting professional meeting rooms. We take a look at some of the reasons all sizes of business are renting meeting venues:
First impressions matter and top-quality meeting venues are a great way to impress clients. Up-to-date technology allows for seamless powerpoint presentations, conference calls, and webcam connections. There’s no more fumbling with technology or jerry-rigged presentation tools in presentation and boardroom meetings.
Businesses with no, or underwhelming, meeting rooms can set a professional tone by renting. In many offices, the meeting venues are old and out-of-date. The designs go out of style and the technology falls into disrepair or is outpaced by new trends.
Rental meeting rooms, on the other hand, are always kept updated. They need to satisfy the needs of the modern company. As such, coworking spaces refresh their meeting venues with modern designs and the latest technology. Even established enterprise companies benefit from coworking meeting room rentals.
This is especially appealing to companies who’ve been in the same location for a long time. Boardroom rentals allow them to put their best face on with new clients, investors, and partners.
When booking a meeting, location matters. When meeting with multiple parties coming together, it’s good to find a meeting spot in a central location.
The challenge is that desirable business locations, like the Financial District, are in short supply. Costs are high and availability is low. Finding business space for rent in these areas is hard for companies. Fortunately, coworking spaces offer rental meeting rooms that satisfy this need.
For companies that work out of town, boardroom rentals are another great option. Teams can gather while visiting for conferences, or businesses can meet in a more accessible location. This is especially useful when a company already has to visit the city to meet with other partners.
Internal Meeting Rooms Fill Up Fast
Last minute meetings can be tough to book. In most offices, meeting rooms fill up fast. If you need to move around meeting times or don’t book far enough in advance, you might be stuck in a coffee shop.
When you need an extra place to meet, meeting room rentals aren’t just a lifeline – they’re an upgrade. They’re cleaner, run smoother, and your booking times are guaranteed.
An overflow of meeting room bookings isn’t the only reason to look outside of your office building. Room sizes should match the number of people going to the meeting. Too small of a room is cramped and uncomfortable. Too large of a room, and it feels empty and unprofessional – like a child in an oversized suit.
Toronto coworking offices, on the other hand, have a variety of meeting venue sizes to keep you in the Goldilocks zone. For meetings in groups of 4 to 20 people, there are three different room sizes. So you can choose the one that’s just right.
With a variety of room sizes available and rates on a per hour or per day basis, The Professional Center has the right room for you. Our Toronto meeting venues fill up fast so contact us to request a meeting room today.