How Healthy Snacks in a Meeting Can Be a Game Changer

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Do you feel like you waste too much time in meetings? There are many things you can do to minimise the time you waste in meetings and make the meetings you do need to hold more effective. One of those ways is by including a selection of healthy snacks for attendees. Healthy snacks can make meetings something to look forward to and encourage staff satisfaction and feedback. Before we explain how healthy snacks in a meeting can be a game changer, let's take a look at how you can make every meeting you hold nothing short of awesome.  

How Much Time Do We Waste in Meetings?

For many organisations, meetings are a vital part of day to day operation. Regular meetings are held to facilitate communication between staff and share feedback, and these huddles and staff forums are where plans are discussed, strategies are formulated, and relationships built. The chances are, you or your employees could be spending more than five hours a week in meetings, which equates to 12.4 per cent of the working week. There are several things you can do, and steps you can take, to minimise the amount of time you spend in unnecessary meetings - and to make the meetings you do need, more effective. 

Consider the Reason for the Meeting 

First of all, before you book the meeting room, decide whether a meeting is really necessary. Would a group email be better? Remember when you ask a member of staff to attend a meeting that you are removing him or her from their workstation. Not only is that person spending time in a meeting that could be spent working, but you are disrupting their day, breaking their line of thought, and diverting their concentration. 

When they return to their work after the meeting, they will have to start a task from the beginning, meaning lost time. Not only that, they might be required to catch up on what they have missed while they were away from their desk, such as return missed calls or dealing with a missed call that has escalated into a chain of emails. 

There will be times, however, when a meeting is the best way to proceed. If you decide that this is the case, make sure you have clear objectives for the meeting and that you communicate them to every attendee. 

Get Organised Ahead of Time 

Make sure all attendees know in advance the reason for the meeting. You could distribute an agenda beforehand so everyone knows exactly what will be discussed and in what order. That way, each member of staff can be prepared to contribute to whichever topics are relevant to them if necessary. 

You could decide to stick to a structure so you know how much time you will allocate to each item on the agenda. If you do, you will need to lead your meetings with intention so as not to deviate from the plan too much, if at all. It will depend on the purpose of your meeting, the nature of your business, how many issues are to be discussed, and how many attendees you are inviting as to how you decide to proceed. 

In other words, some meetings might be better conducted in the manner of a brainstorming session or an informal chat. Other meetings will need to adhere to a strict schedule. 

Appoint a Note Taker 

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Have somebody take notes during the meeting so decisions and action points are accurately recorded. When the notes are typed up, you will need to distribute a copy to all attendees after the meeting so everyone is clear about who has agreed to do what, when, and how. Consider asking staff to take turns at being the note taker. That way, everyone gets a turn at being the one who must pay the utmost attention to every detail to record it.

Be Prepared for Every Eventuality  

In any meeting, there’s a chance that people will interrupt one another or try to speak over each other. If you think this is going to be a problem, formulate a plan. It’s a great idea to designate a ‘conch shell.’ This could be a notepad or a pen, or something more eye-catching or relevant to your business if you prefer. The rule is that only the person who is holding the conch shell can speak and therefore it must be passed on between colleagues throughout the exchange. 

Also, think about latecomers to your meeting; where will they sit to cause minimum disruption? Will there be members of staff that will need to be able to take a call or leave the room due to the nature of their responsibilities? If so, where is the best position for them? 

Ensure Everyone is Comfortable 

Make sure the air conditioning is turned on, the room is big enough for all the attendees, the lights and electricity are working, and you have enough chairs for everyone. If you’re going to be using a screen, check it is set up and operational in the way that you need it to be. This will save wasting anyone’s time and your own embarrassment when you power-up your laptop only to be met by error messages. 

Check that everyone in the room will be able to see the screen from where they are sitting. Consider whether you want to provide bottles of water, coffee or mints, or whether you will suggest that staff bring a drink with them. 

Provide Healthy Snacks 

If you give employees a good reason to attend a meeting, you might find that they enter the meeting room with a lot more enthusiasm. Everyone loves a snack, particularly if it’s something tasty and nutritious, so invest in some edible treats. 

Remember to consider different taste preferences, food allergies, and dietary requirements. If this sounds like a bit of a headache, Snackwize can take care of it for you. It’s a worthwhile investment; think of it as feeding their brains! If you provide snacks that your employees haven’t necessarily tried before, you’ll really get their attention. 

Be Original and Unique 

Snackwize’s Snack Boxes include 30 to 40 different snacks from more than 100 premium brands, so the chances are, if you order from Snackwize, not everyone in the room will have tried all of the snacks in your Box. When you choose a delivery subscription, we can offer a rotating selection, so you’ve got fresh snack ideas to offer round at each meeting, whether that’s weekly, fortnightly or monthly. 

Just imagine how keen your employees will be to attend your mid-afternoon meeting if they know you have a selection of healthy cookies on the table! Our cookies come in flavours including ginger and date, double coconut, and raw cacao. You are benefitting their health in the long term by providing healthy options to snack on, and healthier staff means happier, more productive employees - and less time off sick. 

Ask for Feedback 

At the end of the meeting, wrap up with a concise summary. If you have enough time, you can invite questions or ask staff if they have any other business they need to discuss. Remember, though, that if someone wants to share an update, it might be better for them to send an email instead of taking up everyone’s time. 

Hopefully, everyone will be feeling energised after their healthy snack, rather than suffering from that afternoon slump that is associated with heavier foods or junk food. That means more productive feedback for you. You could even ask everyone for their input on the healthy snacks they have just tried. Make a note of what they say and if they don’t like something in the Snack Box, let us know, and we’ll put a different snack in next time. Equally, if you and your colleagues love a particular food item, tell us that too, and we can put more in on your next delivery. 

Tips for Holding an Effective Meeting 

Follow these tips for a meeting that gets the job done. 

• Start strong. Begin the session with a topic that will excite or interest the attendees. This could be small talk, something topical or funny, or you might like to highlight something the company or a team has recently accomplished. 

• Try to involve every person in the room. Everyone wants to feel that their opinion is valued. 

•  Some people will be more likely to speak up than others, but don’t forget about the quiet ones; they could be harbouring the solution to a problem but prefer to speak to you one-to-one after the meeting. 

•  Meetings with seven people or less are more effective. Smaller meetings mean that you can involve everyone in the room, everyone can take a turn to speak, and the person talking or holding the meeting can better pick up on body language. 

• Ban devices. Phones and tablets are distracting for the individual using them as well as other people in the room and the person holding the meeting or presenting. If staff need to have their phones, remind them to switch them onto silent and to discretely leave the room if they need to take a call. 

• Keep meetings short. If your meeting is an hour or less, you will better hold the attention of your participants. People work better when time is tight than if they have an endless window of time stretching in front of them. 

•  If you put aside an hour for a meeting and you’re done in 40 minutes, wind the meeting up early. You don’t need to fill the remaining 20 minutes just for the sake of it. 

• Stand up meetings can be more productive. Consider having everyone stand up instead of lounging in a chair and having a sneaky snooze!  

•  Consider incorporating a bit of fun to raise energy levels, encourage people to mix, and to get everyone thinking. This could be a team building activity, a quiz that relates to the company or performance statistics, solving a puzzle, or an icebreaking game. 

When meetings are fundamental to your business, it’s worth taking the time to plan ahead and consider how you can stimulate and engage each attendee. From the right lighting and temperature to a refreshing drink and a snack on the table, your meeting can be more successful and productive. 

Conor Reynolds