A standard business meeting can last anywhere from half an hour to half a day. Annual general meetings often span more than two days. Depending on the nature and scope of the meeting, there could be half a dozen people or scores of attendees. There are business meetings, corporate meetings, seminars, large events like tradeshows and classified lobbying where only two or three people may be in attendance. No matter what kind of meeting we have to address or attend, the success of the meeting depends on the takeaway. Whether or not everyone has been attentive and has understood the essences of the meeting will determine if the meeting was fruitful or futile.
For a meeting to be interesting, it should be a well planned session. There should be facts or statistics, ala the hard numbers. There should be insights or critical assessments. There must be illustrations and there should be inferences. A meeting may be confined to just one product, service or topic. It may be expansive and might shed light on the foreseeable future and diversification of a business. As you might know, a meeting can be as diverse as it can possibly get. Hence, what is that quintessential element which can make a meeting worth attending or the message of the meeting solidly conveyed?
The secret is the convener of the meeting or the one who is presiding it, the various speakers and the manner in which the meeting is conducted. For a meeting to be successful, the professionals addressing the gathering should be great storytellers. Without a story, a meeting is just the presentation of some numbers, cold facts and passing on some documents or reports. If only facts or statistics have to be shared, then people don’t have to spend time congregating and then attending a meeting. Everyone could be sent the minutes and professionals have the ability to compile those facts and take whatever message they want to.
Storytelling is integral to a meeting because it establishes the connection. It prepares the ground for the facts or stats to be seen in the right light, so the interpretations are not haywire and so everyone is on the same page. Professionals must be storytellers because only then can they be convincing in a meeting. It is necessary for professionals to captivate everyone, to keep them hooked and to engage the audience so they lucidly understand the points being conveyed. Without storytelling, meetings could be a one way communication channel with no impact whatsoever.