Good meetings are just like good music: They rock! And you can make it rock by planning the following aspects of your programme carefully:variation, pace, intensity, escalation, surprise and repetition.
The greatest challenge at large meetings is to hold people’s attention. If a particular format – a presentation or activity – is repeated too many times, people will get bored. If you want to get your participants and the meeting grooving, shift between brief and longer presentations, hands-on activities and theoretical perspectives, the serious and the more amusing topics, activities where people sit and listen and sessions with lots of interaction, etc. But do not shift too often, as your participants will get stressed and play out of tune!
Numerous studies have shown that an average adult has the maximum attention span of somewhere between 7-40 minutes, making shorter presentations more popular. But just think how sometimes an hour can feel like 10 minutes, and other times a minute can feel like an eternity. That’s because there’s a difference between perceived time and real-time. Another study shows that people’s perception of time is highly influenced by their emotional state – time flies when you’re having fun. Therefore, a brilliant presentation by an eminent speaker can easily hold people for an hour. However, the ultimate meeting experience requires something entirely different to happen afterwards.
Close your eyes and imagine that you’re a participant at your own meeting – go through the programme points and soak it all in: What do you think should happen now? Do people need a break? A good laugh? Maybe a small talk with someone? Perhaps they’d like to sit down? Or stand up? Scenarios are numerous. Now you should be all set to tailor a custom-made programme for your participants, suiting all their needs – both physical and emotional