The same goes for your meetings. A dull start can kill the energy. On the other hand, a motivating start can raise the level of creative energy and mindfulness among the meeting participants.
We gathered seven ways that'll make sure the very crucial, first few minutes of your meeting kick major butt. Seven different ways to start a meeting is quite a lot, so we've made a flowchart to make it easier for you to make the decision:
Now, here are the details of each kick-starter:
1. Inspiration as an appetizer
Whatever your meeting is about, it’s refreshing to kick-start creative minds by being inspired. Start the meeting by showing participants a piece of inspiration that relates to the topic of the meeting. For example, it may be a TED talk, a mood board, a quote or an inspirational video.
You can also try benchmarking, or presenting on an organization (in your industry, or not) that has effectively solved a similar problem to yours in an out-of-the-box way.
2. Take time to connect agenda items
Instead of just jumping straight into the first item on the agenda, it may be a good idea to go through the whole meeting agenda before starting. Make sure to mention how much time is allocated for the meeting as well.
For better results, the specific goal of each item should also be briefed. When you adopt this as a meeting best practice, the actual goal, and not just one small agenda item, will be at the top of the attendees’ minds.
3. Let's play
Playing gives energy and stimulates the brain to think creatively. And admit it - it's fun to play! Therefore, competitions and games are a great way to kickstart meetings. Start with a game of charades or a quiz. Try to develop a game that fits the subject and meeting participants.
4. Make an expectation exercise
Try to do a check-in exercise where all meeting participants say out loud what they expect to get out of the meeting today. By doing this, you move the focus to the purpose and ensures that everybody is engaged. When the meeting is about over, end by saying what you actually got out of the meeting.
5. Share a laugh
Laughing together relieves stress, allows meeting participants to relax and strengthens the collaboration in the room. Encourage colleagues to start the meeting with a good laugh, and even though it may be a little awkward at first, it's quickly over - and it works.
For example, take a round where everyone tells their best joke. You can also show a fun YouTube video, which surely should make even the gloomiest of people smirk.
If you want to keep the fun mood you must look into these Six Crazy Ways to Bring Laughter into your Meeting.
6. Meeting gamification
Gamification is the use of game theory to motivate employees. The technique is based on competitive elements and includes motivational rewards like points or prizes. You can use this technique at meetings by introducing the problem or theme as a game that the meeting participants need to solve or implement.
Find a meaningful way to reward the meeting participants who come up with the best solution or have the most ideas.
7. Get moving
Studies show that creativity increases in physical activity - and here we do not mean hardcore bench press or interval running. It’s just about standing up and getting out to grab some fresh air. Try to start the meeting with a walk around the building or up to the top floor and down again. It doesn’t take more than 5-10 minutes, but it has a big impact on the energy of your meeting.
A short walk is also a good opportunity to chat with colleagues, which strengthens your relationship while prepping you to focus on meeting when you’re back. Do you want 7 Tips to Facilitate a Walking Meeting?
... and remember to bring the Yes Hat!
You’ll be amazed at how effective the 7 ways actually are, but it requires open and receptive meeting participants. Playing, moving and doing games together is not necessarily common at work, and it may require a little time to get used to. As a meeting facilitator, your attitude is projected onto your colleagues, so it’s important that you motivate and lead by example.