Use snacks to increase attendance at your meetings.
Eating together is an important part of the human experience. Let’s face it, when you’re sitting there at a friend’s wedding, are you thinking about what a wonderful expression of love and commitment and the glory of having all your friends and family in one place? Maybe. But you’re probably trying to remember if you signed up for the chicken or the vegetarian option and what the cake’s going to be.
But why? Probably because we’re most relaxed when we’re digesting. We can talk about the food and avoid topics like presidential candidates. And eating together is something humans have been doing since they had to go to their cave-girlfriend’s cave-friends’ cavepainting opening (at least there was a plate of mountain herbs and grubs).
So why not have snacks at your next meeting? It may feel more casual, but that doesn’t mean people won’t be professional. You might even find that:
– It’s something different. 99% of meetings are snackless. Make yours one of the 1%.
– It doesn’t have to be big. A bag of peanuts to share will go further than you might think. Unless people in your meeting have a peanut allergy.
– You get to learn about everyone’s allergies. A non-work related topic you could use as conversation fodder while you’re waiting for everyone else to dial in.
– You might end up with a snack-napkin idea. People revere those bar napkin ideas because they represent moments of genius and inspiration that strike us when we least expect it. But if you think about it, people are more relaxed after they’ve unwound from a day of meetings than they are in the middle of it. But with a snack you could trick your meeting into thinking it was just as relaxed as it would be after a few cocktails. And more relaxed means better conversation. And better conversation means more exchanging of ideas. And more exchanging of ideas means the likelihood of something great coming up is higher. And then, boom!, you’ve got a napkin right there you can dust the peanut shells off of and write it down. Unless you’re allergic to peanuts, then I can’t stress enough how important it is to avoid them.
– Attendance. If I know there’s going to be food at a meeting, I’m there. Early.