|Dear Meeting Guru,
I host approximately 10 teleconferences per
week. There are often more than 10 participants. Do you have any
advice on how to get people motivated for and involved in teleconferences?
St. Louis, MO
First ask yourself if all meeting participants need to be at the meeting. Smaller
meetings are less formal, participants feel more inclined to contribute and
the discussion becomes more focused. Once youve determined whose attendance
is necessary for these meetings, assign a specific task to each participant.
This urges participants to prepare for the meeting discussion and get more involved
with the meeting itself.
One of the best ways to get people interested in their meetings is to make
them a little more interesting and fun. Here are a few ideas that would work
for teleconferenced meetings:
Provide small gifts at both sites, such as pens, toys or treats to
welcome participants and express appreciation for attending the meeting.
You don't need a gavel to call a meeting to order. There are all kinds of
bells and whistles that do the job more pleasantly (how about a kazoo?).
games can be available to occupy people's hands during meeting discussion.
They also add a fun factor to the meeting (at both sides of the call). Some
options are Silly Putty, yo-yos, Slinkys, Koosh balls, Nerf balls, etc.
Use different sounds to identify the different speakers. Instead of an individual
announcing that hes about to speak, he can use a specific sound to
identify himself. This might add some humor to the meetings.
Making teleconferenced meetings more fun is trickier than modifying in-person
meetings because there isnt a visual element involved. Perhaps your best
bet is to generate more fun at both sides of the conference call. Then participants'
moods will lighten and the meeting may become more interesting.
For more ideas on how to generate fun in meetings, read this submission by a fellow subscriber with the same
Meetings dont have
to be serious and stuffy in order to be considered successful. As long as the
objective of the meeting is achieved, theres always room for a little
fun. As Confucius once said, "Be aroused by poetry, structure yourself
with propriety, refine yourself with music." Even in the scholarly world,
music and poetry were considered an important part of learning, not a distraction.
Until next time
may good meeting karma always be with you.