Fun meetings good for business

Five steps to more engaging meetings

Meetings are a fact of life, at least if that life includes a job. Unfortunately too many meetings are dull and feel like a waste of time.

When meeting facilitators take the time to make meetings fun, it can have a positive effect on an organization’s bottom line, according to Kevin Eikenberry, a leadership expert and author of Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time.

Some of the positive effects include teams that are more engaged in their work, increased communication, improved working relationships, increased energy and increased memory and retention.

Eikenberry offers the following five tips for making meetings more effective and fun:

1. Set a fun expectation: Let people know that it is okay to have a little fun in a meeting. In fact, let them know that is your preference, as long as the meeting's objectives are still reached.

2. Set the atmosphere: Atmosphere can loosen people up and allow them to be in a more relaxed and open state. Consider playing fun, upbeat music before the meeting starts or find a funny cartoon and share it with everyone at the start of the meeting (or project it on the screen for people to see).

3. Engage their brains: Do a quick trivia question or a quick little puzzle exercise. Award the winner a candy bar or something else very simple. Beyond the fun, you now have people's brains ready to work, getting them past any mental cobwebs that they may have had when they came to the meeting.

4. Moment of appreciation: Give people the chance to thank others in the room for any help they have been to them or to otherwise express their appreciation. This is a powerful way to set a new frame of reference for teams and sets a meeting up for greater collaboration. While this isn't fun in a traditional sense, it will bring an important and enjoyable element to your meetings.

6. Toys on the table: Give people something to play with. Many people are fidgeters. In a strange way, when you give them something to do with their hands they will remain more engaged in the content of the meeting. Koosh balls, Nerf balls, clay or Silly Putty all work great.

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