8 Ways to Get People to Show up at Meetings
It was not so many years ago that a wise man said to me, "Your meeting is a high priority, if there's free food!" I can honestly divulge that piece of advice has served me better than any meeting planners and team collaboration tools combined.
The sad truth is that people LOVE to HATE meetings. According to a 2015 survey by Clarizen and Harris Poll, 17 percent of employees would rather watch paint dry than attend meetings. Ouch!
In all seriousness, though, and fun headcanon aside, there’s simply no substitute for the synergy that can be created when people come together , which means we cannot do away with meetings completely.
Besides bribing people with free food, here are 8 effective (and cheaper) ways to achieve better attendance:
1. Know the workplace culture and collaborative team environment - What are the common practices for team meetings? What works and what doesn't? The answers to those questions can help you determine the best approach.
2. Be clear about why you are holding the meeting - "Why are we having this meeting? Is it for brainstorming, creative jam sessions, status updates, education, training, team building, or celebration?" When there is a compelling reason, people are more inclined to make it a priority and join the meeting.
3. Communicate the benefits and rewards - State the benefits of participating and provide the incentives for individual's presence.
4. Promote your meeting (Use it with caution!) - Enlist senior leadership support at your company to increase awareness and gain recognition of the meeting's importance.
5. Share ownership of the meeting - Invite participants to contribute to the meeting or content. Maybe include a guest speaker who's a draw?
6. Elicit and respond to feedback - Ask for input and invite submission of comments and questions before you send out the meeting invite.
7. Invite the right people - Do you need a strategist, a specialist, someone with seniority? Select a single person to represent each of the qualities you’re after. If people are either declining your meeting invitations or not showing up at all, it may be because they don't perceive any value in attending.
8. Invite early and remind often - After the initial invitations are sent, make reminder and follow up emails and/or phone calls to as many of the invitees as possible and extend a personal invitation and recommend that they attend the event. Make the attendance matter.
Lastly, here are some interesting statistics about the average meeting goer:
“A system is only as effective as your level of commitment to it.” ~ Audrey Moralez