Monday July 21, 2008
Meetings can be a tricky business deciding on attendees, length, location, agenda, how to keep the meeting on track to achieve the desired outcomes and the follow up. That does not even begin to take into account where to seat people. You need a PHD in psychology to read everyone's body language and a degree in emotional intelligence to adapt your behaviours accordingly. It's exhausting just thinking about it!
However despite the many books and myriad of advice telling people how to pitch, poach and present it seems all the attendees care about are the biscuits.
I came across a piece of research recently conducted by The Holiday Inn who interviewed 1000 business professionals about what biscuits they would most like to have. The No 1 choice was a chocolate digestive; just think of all those sticky chocolate fingers all over the notes. They would then like to Hob Nob with a Hob Nob and despite the fact I am more likely to give them my 6 year old and his friends after school, Jammie Dodgers come in a credible no 3. It seems the absolute no-nos are anything plain and crumbly. Now at last - a piece of really useful advice which means we can make can now make an informed decision about what to serve.
I recently heard of a catering manager that was relieved of her post for - amongst other things - continuing to provide biscuits in wrappers that were too loud when meetings were being joined via video or telephone conferencing.
Many of our clients now provide trays of miniature delicacies that would not be out of place in the Ritz at three. We know of a well-known conference venue in Covent Garden that has taken the retro route with Viceroy biscuits (remember the ones in the foil wrappers?), bags of flying saucers and sherbet dib dabs for during breaks.
So if you want your meeting to be rated a 5* forget the politics, send back the digestives and pick up a penguin, rated no 4 on the hotlist just above the custard creams.
learnpurple run courses on running effective meetings, emotional intelligence and impact and influencing skills.