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Meetings. Is there anything as universally despised? At the same time, we all know that no matter how much we hate them, they’re necessary. If only there were a way to make meetings enjoyable and productive.

There is.

Here are some simple ideas that will turn your meetings into creativity packed sessions that actually get things done.

Food

Food falls into the category of ‘it’s the little things that make a big difference’. A couple of thoughtful and interesting food and drink items have the power to create an engaged team that feels appreciated and looks forward to meetings. It’s amazing how some fruit and cheese can actually make meetings enjoyable and productive.

Give everyone a voice 

Everyone must have a chance to speak in the meeting. Encourage the shy and quiet team members to share their thoughts and perspectives. People feel appreciated, and part of the team, when they feel heard. It can be something as simple as kicking off the meeting by going around the table and asking each person for their feedback and updates, and/or their challenges and their successes. Remember to thank them for their participation and always give everyone feedback.

Surprise and delight 

I think the biggest reason people hate meetings is because they are boring! Hold your meetings outdoors. Or in a cafe. Host a meeting as a walk in the park.

Fun is important. People will want to attend meetings that brighten up their day, instead of dragging it down. No one said work can’t be fun! When work is fun, your team will be showing up each day engaged, excited, and ready to make things happen.

Keep things fresh and new, so people will be on their toes.

Cut the Meeting in Half 

Announce at the outset, that the meeting has been “cut in half.” Set a timer for half of the time that was scheduled. When the timer goes off, the meeting is over. No excuses. This is one of my personal favourites because it gives everyone the gift of time!

Start on Time, End on Time 

Start your meeting on time no matter what. No matter who is late. No matter what materials aren’t ready. No matter who is getting coffee. Same for the ending, end no matter what. When time is up, it’s over!

Play 

Play breeds an informal atmosphere. Engaging in friendly competition and playfulness helps those in attendance feel a sense of camaraderie and leads to a more productive, collaborative space.

I recently read about an organization that has a “No Rehash” policy. Each time a colleague revisits a topic already covered in that meeting, the co-workers raise paddles with “no rehash” written on them, signaling that it is time to wrap up their point.

Please connect with me on this one marilyn@barefootbrainstorming.com 

I would love to hear your stories, tips, and tricks on how to get unstuck in a meeting rut!

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Marilyn

Barefoot Brainstorming

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Woman executive chained to desk