How breaks can amplify your meeting’s effectiveness

Working hard doesn’t necessarily mean working long. In fact, long uninterrupted work sessions could actually decrease your productivity. Studies have shown that adults can only manage sustained attention for about 15-20 minutes at a time. After that, a short break is needed to let the mind relax, even if it’s just a few minutes.

So if you want a highly engaged meeting, incorporate a few well-timed breaks to keep everyone’s attention strong.

Try these tips:

Think about something new – Once you hit the 20-minute mark, try switching up the presentation method. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Ask a question that attendees can discuss in small groups. Or show something off topic like a funny comic or video to get a rise out of the audience. After few minutes, your attendees’ minds will be refreshed and ready to get back to the task at hand.

Get up and move –Dr. James A. Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, has studied the sedentary life and the results aren’t good. Poor health, weight gain, and low energy plague slothful people. Movement not only gets the blood flowing to the muscles, but also to the brain. Make sure to keep your group moving even if it’s simply switching rooms between sessions. 

10:00 am & 3:00 pm snacks – Throughout the day, quick snacks can help evade dips in blood sugar. Offer a variety of fruit and other healthy snacks. Avoid anything too sugary that could lead to a crash half an hour later.

Keep’em hydrated – Many meetings are busy, busy, busy. So attendees might overdo it on the coffee in an effort to keep up. But coffee dehydrates you and can lead to low alertness and headaches once the caffeine wears off. Make it easy for your attendees to stay hydrated by providing plenty of water throughout the meeting space. Stay environmentally friendly by avoiding bottled water. Use water coolers and reusable water bottles instead.

End the day with a bang - Planning a fun activity for the end of the day will give everyone something to look forward to. Not only will their energy stay up throughout the day, they’ll get to see a more relaxed side of their colleagues, which builds camaraderie and momentum for the next day.

How do you break up the day to keep the energy up? We’d love to know. Comments below!


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