You’ve been sitting in the conference room for two hours now while a couple of your colleagues discuss “long-term strategy.” And while you know you should be absorbing more of what they have to say, you can’t stay focused – you feel like you could lay your head down on the conference table and catch a few winks.
So we’re here to offer some helpful pointers on how to get back in the game and stay awake:
Prepare: One way to fight that sneaky tired feeling in your meeting is to plan ahead. Hopefully your colleagues have sent around an agenda that gives you a heads up of what to expect. Review the agenda and outline what questions you need to ask during the meeting that will help you meet your company and project goals. Sure it may be dry stuff in meetings sometimes, but there’s a reason they invited you to participate. Don’t rush in last minute without your own game plan, if you plan ahead you may get more out of the meeting than you expected.
Map out the objectives: Assuming you feel comfortable around the meeting attendees, see if you can ask the meeting organizer to kick off the meeting by outlining the intended goals for your time together. That way if the meeting veers off course, each team member can feel comfortable jumping in to help refocus the topic of conversation and use everyone’s time efficiently.
Reduce your lunch portion size: Don’t let all your energy get sucked away with a big lunch. If you eat a large lunch, your energy is focused on breaking that food down, not on helping your brain power through your meeting. It’s all about moderation – save that big meal for dinner – you’ll probably enjoy it more anyway.
Manage your caffeine intake: Sure it may feel great to have three consecutive cups of coffee in the morning and then feel that burst of motivation. But once you crash it can feel like someone sucked the life out of you. Drinking too much coffee too fast can inhibit how successful you’ll be throughout the duration of the work day. Instead, focus on slow and steady – pace your caffeine intake so it’s more likely to help you coast along from project to project.
Take notes: If you’re in a meeting when it’s more about being talked to rather than talked with, keep a piece of paper and pen or your laptop at the ready so you can jot down meeting highlights to help stay in sync and actively engaged with the presenter’s discussion.
Open a window: If you have the benefit of windows that open in your conference room, see if your colleagues wouldn’t mind if you opened up a window or two to let some fresh air and hopefully get everyone’s juices flowing again.
But try as we might, we all get caught in these meetings at some point in our careers. By taking some of these measures either before or during your meeting, hopefully you won’t get caught for having missed a vital piece of information. And who knows, if you’re motivated to stay focused, it could just be contagious!
How do you make sure to stay alert and active in your meetings?