Have you sat through day-long meetings with the most memorable part being the numbness you felt in your bum, the big blinks you took at 2pm because you were fighting a snooze reflex after the hotel meal, or thinking, "How many freaking speakers are there?"
I recently received this message from "John" in Atlanta.
Hello Susan ... would you have a suggestion how to keep attendees of a daylong seminar stimulated until the end? I read your article on organizing a meeting, but an all day seminar is hard to keep people attentive. We have 7 speakers, and we are all in one room, usually 250 to 500 people. We are in a convention hall, and the main topic is financial investing.
Here's my reply to John. Hopefully you find something to make your next long meeting better here:
Keeping the audience engaged for a whole day is an art form as well a specific set of skills.
Here are 3 quick proven ways to engage people throughout the day:
1. Make sure they move from the seat they started in at least every 20 minutes. Use group problem solving, sharing in pairs, and similar activities (and urge that people cannot have the person to their left or right as their partner). The success of this is 100% in the setup (the way it's presented to participants).
2. (foreshadowed above). Have the participants do activities that require them to talk, think, and assimilate the information given to them.
3. Hire a facilitator or Master of Ceremonies. Good facilitators preview the meeting, make suggestions, and guide the meeting to successful engagement throughout.
Oh, and, end before an 8 hour day is done.
p.s. send me your questions - I love helping you have 'the good life' in work & out