are four fun pointers that you can use immediately.
Have an appropriate environment.
a location suitable to your group's size. Small rooms
with too many people get stuffy and create tension. A
larger room is more comfortable and encourages individual
up the room with a box with toys inside to spur creativity,
reduce stress and build teamwork. Also, food is a great
way to help establish a lighter environment. Serve light
refreshments -- they're good icebreakers and make people
feel special and comfortable.
Start each meeting by letting someone tell a joke.
you could have everyone answer the following: "The
funniest thing I've seen at work is ..." or "Wouldn't
it be fun to ... ."
a little time to get the creative juices flowing. If time
is an issue, then you can do what one organization does
by having all the meeting members stand and laugh for
one full minute before they start. This helps to boost
energy for the remainder of the meeting.
Go to the bag.
arriving, everyone at the meeting should jot down a simple,
fun and short break idea on a slip of paper. These could
be things such as "Everyone shake hands and compliment
each other for 10 seconds -- go!" or "Everyone
stand up and stretch and yawn out loud for five seconds."
anonymous ideas are put into a paper bag or a company
product and left on the table. When the meeting gets too
heavy or stressful, someone announces "Time to go
to the bag" and picks an idea for a 30-second activity.
This is a humorous touch that isn't time-consuming but
does help remove the meeting doldrums.
"Yes, and ..." exercise.
one of the most fun and positive techniques to get the
best out of the ideas offered at a brainstorming meeting.
This "proactive agreement" exercise involves
embracing and heightening ideas.
idea is treated agreeably and encouraged for a brief time
as if it's the best idea of the day. You actually start
each comment with the words "yes, and." This
is done with high energy to expand on the idea offered.
A little playful exaggeration is useful here; it pushes
you have these exciting ideas on the table, you can do
the more serious work of analysis. I've seen incredibly
innovative, advanced ideas come out of this technique.
It's much more adventurous to go too far than it is to
inch forward timidly.
analysis skills are better applied after the brainstorming,
not during. Our analytical mind gets "worked out"
plenty on the job already -- it's the agreeable, accepting
parts of our minds that need to be purposefully exercised.
business meetings should be positive community-building
experiences that include fun along with the hard work.
Your next meeting doesn't have to bring back boring memories
of why you hate them. Introduce some of these light, humorous
ideas into your meetings, and pretty soon people really
will want to attend meetings.
the Authors: This article is by Ann Fry and Les McGehee.
Check out his website at www.humoru.com.