August 25, 2014
When you were a kid, “fun” was not a dirty word. If your mother asked, “How was school today?” and you said, “Fun!” she was probably delighted. In your head, you connected “school” and “fun”—so that meant you were predisposed to go back. So what’s the harm in connecting “staff meeting” and “fun?” Maybe you’ll end up liking your job more.
Begin the meeting with an entertaining communication exercise and end it by finding the practical value of the exercise. On each end of the meeting, you’re talking about less than five minutes, unless you have giant staff meetings.
Here are examples:
At the end of the meeting, he got up again and asked them if the B-O-W exercise meant anything to them. This group of very serious technical professionals got smiles on their faces. Many said they had more fun listening to each other—tuning in a little more carefully to their colleagues’ word choices and the meaning of what they said. What seems like an unrelated exercise helps people focus on each other and puts them in a more collaborative, innovative frame of mind.
At the end of the meeting, read each cliché and laugh: You can bet that at least one of them made its way into the conversation. Put the most-hated clichés that were used in that session on a “forbidden” list for the upcoming meeting—or longer. This can bring a little levity to otherwise boring meetings and can make sure people are listening and not tuning out.
Take one minute at the end of the meeting and have people draft stupid tweets of their own that capture some aspect of the meeting that just occurred. Have each person read it, or when necessary, write it out on a white board.
With all three exercises, you can keep the meeting on track, but frame it in a way that gives attendees something to look forward to on both ends of the meeting. All three are designed to perk up your listening throughout the meeting, inspire creativity, and provide an opportunity to be both playful and productive in your meeting conversations.
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