Ideas for breaking up dull meetings

Everyone’s had to endure meetings that drag on for what seem like eternity, but there’s no reason why they can’t be fun

The whole point to them is to hear some fresh ideas, solve problems and get everyone involved, so if your employees are less than engaged you may need to start taking a different approach to the way you communicate.
Here are some ideas to spice up your meetings and stop staff zoning out.

Close up of Three Bowls Full of Various Fruits

Play with Play-Doh

Many managers have taken to unleashing the joys of Play-Doh on their staff when there’s a lull in proceedings. Playing during a meeting may not sound very productive, but it’s a good way of breaking the ice and getting people to think more creatively. Children’s toys are surprisingly successful at challenging pre-conceived ideas. Get your employees to solve a particular problem or issue by sculpting a lump of Play-Doh, and see how they react.

Take it outdoors

A meeting in a stuffy office environment is more likely to make your employees nod off than inspire them, so take it somewhere different. If the weather’s nice, hold it in the garden or nearby park, or have a pow-wow at your local cafe. An informal atmosphere will encourage people who may not normally contribute to meetings to open up.

Reward good ideas

Before a meeting, ask each attendee to come up with a new idea to improve the business so everyone is making a contribution. Award a prize to the person who comes up with the best suggestion. It doesn’t have to be much – a voucher or bottle of wine is enough to show your appreciation. Regularly rewarding good work will improve motivation and productivity.

Offer snacks

Food helps make people feel more relaxed and keeps up their energy levels. Instead of offering the usual coffee and biscuits at meetings, why not try something different for a change? Fresh fruit that’s easy to munch on during a meeting, such as grapes, blueberries and raspberries, is a healthy option, while other ideas include cheese and crackers, and mini muffins.

Put on some music

Music can help set the tone of your meeting. Tranquil classical music playing in the background can help you brainstorm, but there are other ways of using sounds to express the feeling in the room. For example, you could use a recording of cheering crowds after someone has spoken, laughter sounds when the atmosphere becomes too tense, or bells and whistles when a solution to a problem is finally found.

Take the marshmallow challenge

This is a fun game to play if you want to kickstart a meeting or get your people thinking creatively by working together. The task is simple – in 18 minutes, teams must compete to build the tallest free-standing structure they can out of sticks of spaghetti, tape and string – with a marshmallow placed on top. The lesson it teaches you is that you sometimes have to think outside the box to achieve your objectives. Make sure the winners of the task are rewarded with a small prize.

Posted by Ashleigh Sharp

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