The thrill of the meeting: how to keep your audience rapt

Use these thrilling techniques from the movies to keep everyone focused during long meetings

Sometimes you’ve got to take inspiration from strange places. And one way to keep attendees at your meetings involved is to take inspiration from the movies – in particular, thrillers.

In these edge-of-your-seat films, viewers ride from one thrill to the next – never daring to take their eyes from the screen.

A Line of Business People Blindfolded

Keeping your meetings thrilling can have a similar effect. Here’s how…

Hold back something back
Thrillers dish out information on a drip feed, giving audiences enough to keep them wanting more but not enough that they feel they know the whole story.

You can do this in meetings simply by announcing at the start that you’ve got some big news that could change the company. And then don’t reveal what it is.

Feel free to drop hints throughout to keep their interested piqued. But hold the big reveal until the end of the meeting.

Throw in a red herring
A good thriller will always have a few suspects. And one way to keep the audience guessing is with red herrings. These can divert attention away from the real villain. They’re also a good way to see if the audience is paying attention.

Try some misdirection and see if anyone picks up on it. If no one does, call them on it. Use information that everyone in the business should know.

Surprise guest
The mystery guest is a classic thriller trope. An unknown quantity turns up at someone’s house seeking help. They might seem innocent but there’s something just a little off about them. The audience will be on high alert whenever they are onscreen, expecting the worst.

During the meeting, you could have someone unknown sit in the corner to take notes. They don’t need to be actually doing anything but it’ll make your employees more aware of themselves and what’s happening in the room.

Business man Covering his Face with a Question Mark

Switch topic mid-way through
The bait and switch is a classic technique, used in a number of films. You offer the audience a story up, let them think they’ve figured it all out, and then throw in a third act twist.

When you’re hosting your meeting, keep people on their toes by throwing in a topic that wasn’t on the agenda. See how much they really know by discussing something they might not have prepared for.

Build to a crescendo
You can use all the techniques to slowly build your meeting to a high point. While we’re not expecting a 10-minute car chase during your meeting, like the movies you can hopefully wrap everything up into a satisfactory package.

This could involve revealing the big news, pointing out the red herrings, letting the group know who the man in the corner is or simply bringing together all your points into a well-thought out summary that will leave your attendees feeling like they’re learned something useful at your meeting.


Posted by Julie Tucker


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