I had a great idea to present to my manager, we were meeting at 4pm and I could tell, even before I pitched it, the care factor was zero. It was like the Out of Office message had already gone up for the start of holidays.
If you ever feel that good ideas have gone to waste all because they were presented at the wrong time, you could be right.
As neuroscientists learn more about how the brain works and how we think depending on external factors, there’s some compelling evidence that invites us to consider when we have our meetings.
Want to present an innovative idea? In the morning, at the beginning of the month is the best time to present it. People are more engaged in the morning, it’s easier to get buy-in for the initiative and create momentum to get the idea off the ground.
Want to bury or kill something? Scheduling a meeting for a Friday afternoon before a long weekend will most certainly help. Those present are likely going to be uninterested in anything besides how long it will take them to fight the traffic on the way to a few days off.
Decision fatigue is a term that describes what happens as the day progresses – our brains make poorer quality decisions because they get tired. This makes sense, as anyone who has been at a conference that goes for days will attest. By the end of back-to-back sessions, retention and the care factor drop off in the afternoons.
So how can you get around it?
* Schedule important meetings in the morning;
* Leave a gap between meetings of 15 minutes, to allow people to refresh.
* Consider breaking long meetings in half.