How Do I Remain Alert At Meetings?

Meetings are usually called to solve problems, share information/feedback, brainstorm and build commitments, to mention a few objectives. Depending on the objective of the meeting, it may involve going through reports or presentations. Though there are many benefits to be had (in some cases), it can be quite challenging taking part in seemingly endless meetings and discussions. What is even more challenging is trying to stay awake during these meetings. In some cases, participants are dragged into lengthy discussions that are of no apparent value to them.

Are you faced with the prospect of another boring meeting?

To prevent the imminent boredom and help you stay alert, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Caffeine can be your friend. Notice how coffee is often served during afternoon meetings? This is because the caffeine in coffee is widely recognized as a stimulant. It not only helps you stay awake but can also give you an energy boost, which is manifested in physical activities and in how fast the neurons in your brain fire messages. Caffeine can help you think more clearly even during the late hours of the day.  So, whenever coffee is served, take advantage of it.

2. Keep your blood flowing. Take some time to engage in moderate physical activities before the meeting. You can take a walk around the building or do some organizing at your table before the meeting starts. The idea is to keep your blood flowing. During the meeting, you can also keep active by shifting occasionally (without distracting anyone) in your seat or standing up to go to the bathroom. One thing that I do to stave off sleep is to stand at the corner of the meeting room, after all, it’s almost impossible to sleep off on your feet. This always works for me.

3. Retire early. Sleeping early the night before will keep you active throughout the day. If you’re scheduled for a meeting the following day, it helps to hit the sack early. You will feel rested and rejuvenated when you do wake up. By doing so, you do not deprive yourself of sleep; sleep deprivation can result in dozing off during meetings without even realizing it.

4. Take a nap. Power napping can be an antidote to dozing off in the afternoon. If a meeting is scheduled for afternoon and there is nothing you can do about it, take a power nap, if possible. It will increase your short-term alertness and performance. Resting also increases your energy levels throughout the remainder of the day.

5. Be attentive. Just because you’re a participant does not mean your concerns should only be limited to what applies to you. If the meeting is about sharing information, contribute your thoughts to the discussion. On the other hand, make conscious efforts to listen to other people’s suggestions. Immerse yourself as much as possible in the task at hand. Who knows, you may eventually end up finding the meeting interesting.

6. Be active. Do anything you can to keep active. You may choose to take notes, doodle or distract yourself with your laptop. The more active you are, the lower the probability that you will fall asleep.

Meetings can be boring but it is up to you to make the most of what might otherwise be a waste of time and resources. You may end up picking up new ideas at the meeting if you make efforts to pay attention.

Picture Attribution: "Young Woman Yawning" by David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net