Creative Organisational Tips & Techniques For Meetings
We’ve put together a few unusual but creative tips and techniques to keep your meetings engaging and stimulating for your audience. These tips will help you avoid the unproductive meeting plague and make sure all your meetings are effective with good audience engagement.
Connection Before Content
How do you attract good ideas and questions in a room full of uncomfortable people? This technique acts as an icebreaker between individuals as it establishes relationships before getting to the real purpose of the meeting. The facilitator of the meeting starts off by asking a question such as “What are some challenges you are currently facing with a project?” or “What is something you think you could have done better this week?”. This way other coworkers will also feel like they are able to relate better to one another once exposing vulnerability. By giving the space for your coworkers to express doubts and say “no”, studies show that you are creating a safe space where they feel more comfortable to throw out ideas.
The Power of Praise
Praising individuals has also been linked to better attention spans in meetings. Firstly this is because recognising someone’s hard work and achievements in front of others promotes good morale in a work environment. Secondly, bringing up someone’s personal achievements as an example of the point you are trying to make will not only make the person proud to receive praise in front of their colleagues but it also creates envious feelings from other colleagues. When this happens they will also try to seek praise from you by sitting up straighter and trying to suggest more ideas. Although it is a rather sneaky tactic we’d suggest you don’t turn to false flattery to try to gain everyone’s attention and instead use this technique in moderation.
Parking Lot Chart
This chart helps to eliminate the "off-the-agenda" issues from worming their way into meetings. Meetings often get held up because off-topic issues brought up, and even though these off-topic issues are important, they may end up taking the place of other urgent issues that were meant to be discussed in the meeting. To use this technique first draw a table or chart on a separate whiteboard or piece of paper. When the meeting begins and someone brings up a possible off-topic issue, defer with the rest of your coworkers to see if they think it is also off-topic and if yes, then decide whether it is worthy of jotting down on the Parking Lot Chart. At the end of the meeting, the topics written on the Parking Lot Chart should be addressed by either solving the issues directly with a plan and solution or moved as a priority on the agenda for the next meeting.
If a topic of discussion has already been addressed before, it is important to recognise this and move along with the rest of the agenda for the meeting. The No Rehash technique is a useful technique to avoid addressing old topics that have been brought up before. The technique takes the form of a visual reminder and can be written on a piece of paper or card. Whenever a coworker in the meeting brings up a pre-addressed issue the No Rehash sign should be held up to show that the issue is an old topic. The person who has held up the No Rehash sign can then explain how the issue was previously addressed and move onto the next topic.
Sometimes all we need is a pop of colour to inspire some creativity! Studies have shown that rather than multitasking during meetings with things like emails, colouring can be an effective multitasking activity to help promote originality and innovation. Simply provide a sketch pad and a few coloured pencils, and let your coworkers chat about new possible ideas on how to improve a particular project or come up with completely new ideas. It also gives your eyes a rest from the digital screens and lets you focus on creating something with fun colours. We’d recommend this technique based on the type of meeting you are having but if the meeting is creativity focused, then this technique is a great way to go.
Why not take a break from your typical office meeting room and try something new? A change of scenery always helps to refresh the eyes and can also increase productivity in some cases. If a really long and important meeting is going to take place we’d recommend renting out an external venue with good facilities to boost engagement and emphasise on the serious-professional feel of the meeting. But what if it’s a small meeting? Why not take a break from the office scene completely and hold the meeting in a cafe, park or even bar? In some social environments, your coworkers will feel more comfortable and relaxed to bring up doubts or ideas about different projects. They also boost active interaction with your audience as a socially active environment is stimulating for the human brain.
So why not switch things up a bit and try out some of the recommended techniques? This way you will be able to eliminate the everyday boredom of meetings and turn them into something productive, creative and inventive!