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Bastian Overgaard: Meetings are a need-to-have

After lockdown, many businesses have found out that meetings are need-to-have. Organising hybrid work has increasingly become important and we have found out how our personality types complement each other in various work settings. HUONE has talked to Bastian Overgaard about the importance of meeting face-to-face for our efficiency as well as our creativity.

Bastian Overgaard is a renowned expert in consulting, facilitation and developing effective meeting cultures. He is known for his pioneering work in implementing silence and the beauty of the pause as a management and meeting tool in business events and corporate networks. He recently published the acclaimed book  “Støjfri Ledelse” (“Noise-Free Management” in Danish).

In this interview, you will learn more about:

  • Why silence and pauses are important to the development of teams
  • Why it is important to meet face-to-face
  • Good tips for future leaders

You talked about the importance of silence in management at your presentation for SpeakersNetwork. Why do you believe that silence is such an important tool for teams?

“I know that from my experience and knowledge about neurological and behavioural research. It makes no sense to think that we can perform to the extent we want, to perform to our highest capacity, if we keep pouring information into each other’s minds while executing all the time. There are many factors that can document it. To name a few, our brains need peace, quiet and pauses in order to reboot, restart, handle and process information coming in. In language research, experts have found out that we talk with approx. 150 words/minute. That is 9000/hour and that is the same as 22,5 A4 pages of text we expose each other to all the time. Because we often talk non-stop, which means the brain doesn’t get any rest and a lot gets lost.”

Your presentation took place in the room ‘Strand’ at SpeakersNetwork on October 29th, 2021. How did you experience the cohesion between the room and the overall experience of your talk?

There was an airy atmosphere. Those clouds are really nice. Something that could easily have been an industrial ceiling, has been transformed into an appealing setting. The space I talk about in my presentation, is exactly what this room gives. All the places we are able to minimise noise, are important. I find Strand Room to be visually noise-free.”

What impact do you think creative surroundings can have on our efficiency?

“Everything that can widen one’s perspective, is good. There is a lot of research that can testify to the fact that we easily get stuck in our habitual thinking and routines that limit us. Especially in a time like this with much uncertainty, we need to think outside-the-box and innovatively. It doesn’t work if we are wearing blindfolds. That is a habit one can easily develop, if we are always in the same office, home, or virtual setting, and talk 9000 words/hour. Then, it is time to make some changes. Active silence or creative meeting settings can be a way of creating more of those ‘aha!’ moments.

Bastian Overgaard interview(Bastian Overgaard is a good friend of HUONE Copenhagen. CEO Louise Adolph shows him our rooms, Moss, Festival, and Viking Room.)

With an increase in hybrid work, how do you think our meeting habits will evolve?

“I have a strong conviction that the more hybrid we become in our work routines and the more virtual meetings we host, the higher the need for actually meeting each other face-to-face will get.”

So many basic elements in communication is lost in hybrid and virtual meetings, both in terms of body language and sensing each other.

Physically, research shows that we communicate and connect when we are in the same room. We align through our senses. I hope that we will realise that meeting face-to-face not only is a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have.

Bastian Overgaard’s advice for future leaders:

  1. It is tempting to focus on advantages of the new digital reality because expenses can be cut down to a minimum in terms of transportation, time and meeting spaces. But please remember the importance of purpose and presence.
  2. Silence is teambuilding in acceleration. After only few minutes of co-spatial silence, we get a sense of being closer, more trust and knowing each other better.
  3. Put it in your calendars to simply be together and meet face-to-face as a team if it is possible.

Read more about Bastian Overgaard’s activities and presentations on his website: