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1 min read

Why Your Meetings Are a Snoozefest, And What You Can Do About It

You spent all night working on a snazzy PowerPoint presentation that you were sure would knock the socks of your colleagues. You had cool images, snazzy animations, and the data speaks for itself, right? Apparently not, since minutes later most of the attendees were reaching for their mobile devices and checking email.

You spent all night working on a snazzy PowerPoint presentation that you were sure would knock the socks of your colleagues. You had cool images, snazzy animations, and the data speaks for itself, right? Apparently not, since minutes later most of the attendees were reaching for their mobile devices and checking email.

It’s them, not you right? Well, sort of.

We often forget that we all learn and process data differently.

If you want your employees to benefit from your meetings, you need to ensure your content and delivery appeals to each different learning style. A graphical presentation may work for one employee, but it might not work for the rest.

According to Neil Fleming's VAK/VARK model, there are four distinct learning styles: Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic. Each style learns and processes information differently.

Here are some ways to tailor content for your next meetings to appeal to different learning styles:

Visual: Because this person learns best by seeing things, you need to include sharp imagery. Think beyond excel graphs and bullet lists and consider including flowcharts, videos, and infographics.

Aural: Don’t overload the slides with text. Instead have separate notes that speak on what is on the slide. Allow attendees to record the presentation as well. Also, aural learners may be sensitive to outside noise, so be respectful as to where the meeting takes place.

Read/Write: These learners prefer to take in information displayed as words, so include text-based materials. Encourage this group to take notes and also allow them to describe things in their own words. This will help them solidify the information presented.

Kinesthetic: This group despises traditional meetings where they have to sit around and listen. Engage this group with active participation. This could be a role playing scenario or a group exercise. Also, consider bringing in a prop for them to hold onto: Silly Putty, Slinkies, or even a stress-ball.

Being aware of other’s learning styles can also help avoid misunderstandings, such as an uninformed visual learner complaining that an aural learner isn't paying attention because they aren’t making eye contact.

It took me a long while to understand that I was a kinesthetic learner. I knew I was a poor listener, but I didn’t really know why. Meetings are always a struggle, as are long emails and links to lengthy articles. It’s not that I don’t care, but focusing on four pages of content feels like I’m reading Tolstoy.

Determining employee learning styles doesn’t have to be a complicated. Look closely, and you will see clues as to which tactics engage which colleagues. Then strive to present new ideas in those ways. Because in a time where more decisions are made with less context and information, we cannot afford to waste any more employee time.

Read more by
Kelly Batke

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