The Cure for The Common Meeting
Office meetings are perhaps both the most commonplace and most widely loathed parts of professional life. But whether you're a small business of two or a major company of two thousand, meetings are routinely an integral part of getting the job done. But who says meetings have to be tedious or a drain on morale? In fact, there's no shortage of ways to make your next office powwow worth staying awake for.
Planning a Playful, But Still Professional Meeting
Truly enjoyable meetings are tough to forget. Luckily, they aren't so difficult to plan. Although there is no one-size-fits-all formula for turning a mundane gathering into an entertaining extravaganza, there are countless sure-fire ways to enliven that which could always use more enlivening.
- Hit The Road - Whoever said an office meeting has to take place in the office? Take the meeting to a location that helps everyone stretch their legs and expand their creative thinking. Whether you go to a coffee shop down the road or to a retreat on the coast, inspired thinking and leadership are often born of a creative environment. If the office is too stuffy and you're having trouble cooking up a riveting platform for your own presentation, let your environment do the work instead.
- Beat The Clock - Have an old egg timer in the break room at work or in the kitchen at home? Bring it to the place of your next meeting. Use it to time -- and limit -- the length of discussion on various agenda items during the meeting. Studies show that drawing attention to the briskness of a meeting can elicit improved thinking and greater creativity among participants.
- Take it From Twitter - "The Twitter Meeting" is a newly popular meeting scenario in which everyone is allowed to speak in sentences totaling only 140 characters or less. Such "rules" help to keep meetings short, engaging, and fun.
- Laughter is The Best Medicine - If a meeting can't begin with a laugh, it shouldn't begin. Some of the best meeting planners -- and meeting makers -- are those who mandate a chuckle to break the ice, typically by requiring everyone in the group to jot down on paper the funniest thing that happened to them at work (or in life) since the last meeting. By going around the table and hearing responses before the meeting officially begins, you have a better chance of setting a positive tone for the remainder of the gathering.
- Interaction is Key -From preschool through graduate school, every level of education emphasizes that students better absorb information when it is presented in an interactive fashion. Since learning plays a major role in most meetings, it is vital to include interactive components whenever possible or appropriate. Whether that means acting out skits, playing games, or any other relevant hands-on activity, anything you cook up that involves group participation will likely produce a more memorable and enjoyable meeting for all.
Michael Essany is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.