Many times, meetings can be seen as boring events that people have to attend. That does not have to be the case. You can incorporate various elements into your meeting, which could make your meetings more interesting. Making the most of your meeting does not have to involve a lot of preparation. It just requires creativity and imagination. Let us learn some ways we can make our meetings fun.
The 50 Minute Meeting
The reason why meetings usually last an hour is that our computer program that sets up the meeting usually has 30-minute increments of time. We are forced to schedule meetings to last at least an hour. On a daily basis, we attend more 1-hour meetings than any other kind. When you have several meetings in a row that last an hour each, you will find that you do not have time to check your emails or do other things in between because the next meeting starts right on the hour. The 50-minute meeting is an effective way to space out meetings, allowing us time to do things in between meetings. Conducting 50-minute meetings takes discipline in time management. Here are four steps to make the most of your 50-minute meeting:
- Have an agenda: We discussed the importance of having an agenda. The agenda is the document that outlines what will be discussed in a specific amount of time. With an agenda, you will have the group agree on what topics for discussion. Send out your agenda ahead of time so your participants get an idea of time spent on each topic.
- No side conversations: Set the expectations with your participants that side-conversations are not allowed and that you expect them to be fully engaged in the meeting. Blackberries, iPhones, etc. are not allowed and express that you will hold them accountable if you see people looking under the table at such devices.
- Summarize actions steps: At the end of the meeting, summarize any action steps that resulted from the meeting. You should have action steps at the end of the meeting. If not, rethink why you held the meeting in the first place.
- Send out summary notes: This is the meeting minutes. This should be done as soon as possible after the meeting. Sending out the meeting notes is a great way to solidify those action items with the people responsible for doing them.
Using games in meetings helps to increase productivity. Many games could be used in meetings. We recommend you research the bookstores and find a resource that outlines appropriate games you can use. Remember to think about the meeting purpose before you use a game. If the meeting is about budget cuts, then you do not want to use a game in that type of meeting. Meetings that form new teams or launches a new product is best suited for games. Furthermore, determine how much time the game will take to complete versus the entire time you will be in the meeting. You do not want to play a 15-minute game in a 50-minute meeting.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to using games at meetings:
- Do use games from a book or legitimate resource
- Do use games for meetings that are meant to form new teams
- Do gauge the amount of time the game takes to play against the entire meeting time
- Do practice the game before you use it
- Do not use games in serious meetings
- Do not spend too much time on the game
- Do not make up a game of your own (unless you are confident you can pull it off)
Prizes in meetings should be used to reinforce positive behaviors. The prizes do not have to be extravagant. They could be pens, desk decorations, t-shirts, etc. When giving prizes away, be clear on how to win the prizes. Unclear instructions will lead to outbreaks of conflict when someone feels cheated. For example, if you announce that a person will get a prize for coming back from break on time, almost 95 percent of the time you will have some stay in the room and not go to break to win the prize. Make it clear that they have to leave the room. Perhaps you can up the challenge by stating that the person coming back to the meeting who is the closest to the break end-time without going over will win.
Here are some ways you can leverage prizes in your meetings:
- The most participation
- The first to arrive at the meeting
- Volunteering for something in the meeting
- Creative solution
- Who can recap the action items the best
There are no limits on how to use prizes at your meetings.