A lot of meetings are pointless and poorly executed. Perhaps the most important thing you can do to make meetings more enjoyable is to make sure that there is a clear agenda, and that you and the others really need to be there. For more on this subject, take a look at David Grady’s Ted Talk, How to save the world (or at least yourself) from bad meetings.
Once you’ve ticked those two boxes, try our tips to make your meetings both engaging and effective.
Begin with icebreakers for groups
Sometimes it can be difficult to start a meeting: the people attending don’t know each other, they keep looking at you without saying a word, they’re self-conscious and they’ve sometimes even forgotten what the meeting is about. The solution? Corporate icebreaker games to get things moving. Try some of the following:
- Two Truths and a Lie: everyone says three things about themselves, one of which is made up. For example: “My name is Miguel, I’m 60 years old and I’m from the USA”. The others have to guess which is a lie.
- Dream Destination: attendees say their name and their dream destination. The others can ask questions such as ‘Why did you chose this place? What’s the best thing about it? What would you NOT like about it?’
- Question Ball: take a beach ball and write icebreaker questions all over it. Throw the ball to the first attendee who needs to catch it and has to answer the question that his/her index finger lands on. Then he or she tosses the ball to the next person.
Add lively music and creative visual elements
We’ve all sat through the kind of dull meeting that felt like it would never end, watching the clock tick in a drab room. But meetings don’t have to be boring! Include music and visual elements and you can stimulate creativity and keep your meeting participants interested.
- Improve your meetings with music. Music has many effects on the brain: it can make you happier, raise your energy levels, boost your productivity and reduce stress. Choose music to play as attendees enter the room that fits the mood you want to create in the meeting. For example, classical music can improve visual attention. Once you’ve made your “meeting playlist”, you can punctuate your meeting with it: at the start, during a group activity, during the break, and at the end.
- Use the power of colour psychology. Think about visual elements in the room the same way you think about a PowerPoint presentation: make it look attractive to get people’s attention! An easy way to do that is to give your visual presentations a splash of colour. Like music, different colours have different benefits for your brain: according to research by the University of Columbia. Blue increases creativity whereas red helps you to stay focused. Yellow gives the brain a “wake-up call” but be careful – too much can cause fatigue.
Make smarter seating arrangements
The goal is for everyone to start to speak and get to know each other before the meeting even begins. A smart seating plan is essential. Put some thought into how to seat your attendees and you can start your meeting with everyone already relaxed and engaged. Draft some meeting table plan ideas that group people according to related fields of work or areas of expertise. For example: a community manager with a director of marketing, or a fashion blogger with a stylist.
Le Méridien Barcelona recommendations:
– Unusual meetings venues (Suite, Explore Spa Studio terrace):
– Creative activities
– Creative decoration
– Creative coffee breaks / lunch / dinner
References and further reading: