Room layout, interruptions, technology issues, and the presence of food are the top factors which impact on the engagement of an audience while in a business meeting, according to a global study by SkyGroup Communications partner Barco ClickShare.
The results are the outcome of a global study conducted by the vendor of 2 250+ senior business executives from companies in the UK, France, Germany, US, and the UAE. Participants were asked about their meeting experiences on a day-to-day basis, this was followed by quantitative methods and more uniquely, a scientific experiment using brain mapping technology (EEG) on a small number of senior business professionals whose psychological responses to common meeting room scenarios was tested.
“The results were exceptionally telling and after consultation with some of our own partners and their customers, we have ascertained that while they may be global, they are highly relevant to our local market. We appear to all suffer the same angst from different meeting scenarios as our global counterparts,” says Marius van Wyk, operations and technical director at SkyGroup Communications.
“In fact, the results highlighted specific issues that lead to disengagement, distraction and irritation for employees in a meeting. The bottom line is that what we deem as simple factors such as technology issues, the presence of food, seating arrangements and lack of engaging content, have adverse effects on a meeting.”
According to Barco ClickShare, nearly a third of respondents said they found less than half of their meetings to be useful, while 38% dared to admit they had dozed off in a meeting before. In fact, not only the number of daily meetings results in loss of attention, also a poor room layout, or seating arrangements: six in 10 (60%) respondents believe that their seating position affects their engagement in a presentation. Test participants sitting at the front of the presentation were more engaged than those at the back who showed signs of boredom.
Additionally, 54% felt that meetings are affected by interruptions and 8 in 10 respondents said they got annoyed and irritated by late arrivals. Then, 41% of respondents admitted to using technology such as laptops and cellphones in a meeting, but 8 out of 10 respondents said they were offended by people who did. A whopping 67% of respondents said they got extremely irritated by technology issues during meetings, with 4 in 10 adding that failure of technology eroded engagement, conversely 72% said they were more engaged when the technology worked.
Food seemed to present a real problem as more than half of the respondents said that they sometimes only attend the meetings for the free food, a third said they were distracted by the food, and the brain mapping technique revealed that the mood of attendees is enhanced by food.
“The research is fascinating. We all know that as human beings our behaviour affects others, as do environmental factors, but the fact that the success or failure of technology has such an adverse effect on a meeting, is very telling,” van Wyk says.