If your traditional meeting recipe is becoming a little bland
and boring, try spicing it up with one of our funky new alternatives.
For Quick Updates, Try a Military Theme
If you're meeting for a quick update rather than an in-depth discussion, try
revamping your meeting as a military briefing session. The key is to keep it
brief, focused and regimented.
Cut the Fat on Internal
Discussions by Banning Formal Presentations
Before thousands of devoted PowerPoint fans start protesting,
hear me out. Would-be presenters need to distinguish between
internal discussions and formal meetings with outside participants.
Computer-based presentations are a fantastic way of delivering
information. But a complex presentation, complete with graphics
and transition effects, often isn't necessary in a general
discussion or strategy session. By banning formal presentations,
you save time on preparation, equipment setup and delivery.
Plus a lot of presenters feel the need to include comprehensive
background information when they're composing their slides.
If everyone in the meeting is familiar with the background
this is a waste of time.
Sweeten up Your Brainstorming
today's jaded corporate culture, it's often easier to criticize
than to compliment. People tend to look for flaws in an idea
rather than the merits. When this happens in a meeting, everyone
wastes time arguing, rather than coming up with new ideas
or strategies. To overcome this, have everyone say one positive
comment before they criticize. If you're forced to focus on
the positive, you might actually uncover a way that a particular
proposal could work, instead of vetoing it because of a minor
Use a Talking Stick
When There's Too Many Cooks
This is an idea we've borrowed from Native-American Indians.
The only person able to speak is the person holding the talking
stick (feel free to substitute a tennis ball or stapler for
an authentic talking stick). When a person has finished speaking,
they pass the stick on. This is even more effective if you
impose a time limit (e.g., participants have to pass the stick
after three minutes). This ensures that everyone has their
say and the meeting isn't dominated by one or two vocal participants.
You'll also find that your meeting flows more smoothly when
participants are forced to listen to one another instead of
interrupting at will.
For a One-on-One Discussion Try Take-Out
For one-on-one discussions or updates, consider taking a walk instead of
meeting in the office. If you're both away from the distractions of coworkers,
phones and e-mail, you're more likely to concentrate on the issue at hand. If
you've scheduled a half-hour meeting, walk for 15 minutes and then turn around.
The fresh air will revive you both and the change of scenery just might get
your creative juices flowing. If you think you may forget important points,
take a tape recorder along and record your conversation.
Hopefully these suggestions will spice up your next meeting. Don't
be afraid to break your routine. After all, the more creative your meeting,
the more creative energy will be in the air!