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How to turn your lunch meeting into a productive afternoon

Nowadays one conducts a meeting for a variety of reasons. The purpose of the meetings may vary from whether one wants to ideate, make budget decisions, conduct training, disseminate new policies or maybe just a luncheon celebration. A lunch meeting is a great option for busy co-workers, clients and corporate people to meet. We might think that conducting a meeting over lunch may be a bit of a casual affair but that doesn’t mean serious work can’t be done. In fact, one can do a crisp meeting and you will be surprised, as to how productive one can get.

A. Always opt for private space or area: A separate conference room or meeting space is ideal for lunch meetings so that guests feel free to mingle, discuss and voice their opinions. Typically any banqueting venue has smaller meeting rooms which can be used for this purpose. Depending on the number
of attendees, choose an appropriate meeting venue and then do a creative set up.
B. Attractive but simple set up: You would not want your attendees to get distracted and get lost in the magnificent set up that you did. Hence keep it simple but still creative to elevate their moods and stir positivity in the ambiance. Uplifted and positive minds definitely are much more productive than a tired and boring set of minds.

C. Mark the start of a meeting: A simple exercise to start your meeting can help delegates prepare mentally and focus on what is required over the coming hours. Ask people to close their eyes for a minute or two and focus on their breathing. It’s such a simple exercise, but very effective.

D. Minimize time sitting down in one place: The benefits of moving during your working day are well documented and the same applies to meetings. Encouraging delegates to move around and taking steps to move people from a single spot in a room can help people stay focused and energized. Set group work that allows delegates to move from their seats and sit or stand in a different position. If you notice people starting to get drained, proactively get them to stand up. Asking them to stand and shake their arms and legs is a great way to get people re-energized. You can add some games in the form of short ice-breakers.
E. Serve up some smart food: Consider adding fatty fish like tuna or salmon, avocado, nuts and seeds, and whole grains to the menu. Choosing the right food would also make sure that you are boosting the productivity of your attendees. So move away from white-flour foods, pizza, chips etc and incorporate some healthier food options. Healthier food options also enhance your productivity such as Avocados are known to be good for promoting brain health.
F. Try and skip dessert: It is advisable that you skip the sugary snacks and beverages, too. Generally, these things leave guests with a temporary sugar high, followed by an energy crash. This is something that we do not want during a meeting.

G. Be proactive and circulate an agenda beforehand: Serving lunch adds a casual element to any meeting, but relevant discussions still need to take place and decisions need to be made. An agenda will keep everyone on track and cue them into the purpose of the meeting. Circulating an agenda beforehand only tells the attendees that what to expect from the meeting and in case anyone needs to prepare anything. They know that it’s not just food but that you mean business too.
H. Incorporate some social time: Irrespective of whether attendees are plating their own food or being served, the presence of food always triggers an inclination for chitchat. Rather than trying to contain the conversation, build in time in the beginning for introductions, pleasantries and small talk. This also
lightens the mood and sometimes great ideas spurt during these chit chats.
I. Use technology to captivate a hungry audience: Take advantage of the technological advancement that is available today. The last thing anyone attending the luncheon meeting would want to do is shuffle through handouts.
And anyway giving handouts in today’s world, is passé. Use technology by projecting the agenda and any necessary presentations, graphics and charts onto a large screen.

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