Liven Up Your Meetings

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Published on April 30, 2008

Author: happysammy

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Liven Up Your Meetings 50 Tried And Tested Ways AUTHOR: Graham Roberts-Phelps PUBLISHER: Infinity Books DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2004 NUMBER OF PAGES: 186 pages

Many of us have to spend hours and hours of our days attending or facilitating meetings. In most workplaces, we rely heavily on meetings to communicate, share ideas, resolve problems, negotiate deals and make decisions. Too often, though, meetings are boring, unproductive, stressful and even a complete waste of time. “ Liven Up Your Meetings” by Graham Roberts-Phelps offers techniques on how to improve the quality of your meetings. It provides a collection of tips and ideas on how to raise energy levels when people start to get bored, facilitate communication, tackle problems effectively and achieve desired outcomes. THE BIG IDEA

Many of us have to spend hours and hours of our days attending or facilitating meetings. In most workplaces, we rely heavily on meetings to communicate, share ideas, resolve problems, negotiate deals and make decisions. Too often, though, meetings are boring, unproductive, stressful and even a complete waste of time.

“ Liven Up Your Meetings” by Graham Roberts-Phelps offers techniques on how to improve the quality of your meetings. It provides a collection of tips and ideas on how to raise energy levels when people start to get bored, facilitate communication, tackle problems effectively and achieve desired outcomes.

1. Managing Meetings If you are called upon to manage, chair or lead meetings, you need to make sure that meetings achieve their purpose (effective), are managed well time-wise (efficient), and enjoyable. Some hints at leading meetings well are as follows: -- Phrase each agenda item as a question, requiring a decision to be made -- Arrange the agenda in order of importance of items -- Make sure the tenor of the meeting is on deciding what is right, and not who is right -- Minutes of meetings should be built around clear statements of who should do what -- Follow up on all decisions made -- Don’t feel obliged to involve everyone during the entire meeting when others may only be concerned with one part of it

If you are called upon to manage, chair or lead meetings, you need to make sure that meetings achieve their purpose (effective), are managed well time-wise (efficient), and enjoyable.

Some hints at leading meetings well are as follows:

-- Phrase each agenda item as a question, requiring a

decision to be made

-- Arrange the agenda in order of importance of items

-- Make sure the tenor of the meeting is on deciding what is right, and not who is right

-- Minutes of meetings should be built around clear

statements of who should do what

-- Follow up on all decisions made

-- Don’t feel obliged to involve everyone during the entire

meeting when others may only be concerned with one part

of it

The following checklist shows you what you need to do in preparing for and running a meeting: -- Set the aims -- Prepare the information -- Plan how the meeting will be run -- Run the meeting -- Review and learn 2. Planning And Running Meetings

The following checklist shows you what you need to do in preparing for and running a meeting:

-- Set the aims

-- Prepare the information

-- Plan how the meeting will be run

-- Run the meeting

-- Review and learn

When making presentations, remember the following: People tend to remember more clearly information received at the beginning and at the end of a session. Keep presentations short as long presentations tend to make people lose their concentration and make their minds wander. Keep presentations to less than 50 minutes but not less than 15-20 minutes as people need time to absorb information, too. Link information to other information in the presentation, as these links help people remember. Review information presented earlier Use visual or audio aids to render complex ideas simpler Use breaks frequently and effectively as these allow people’s minds to recall information more effectively Use mnemonic devices to aid assimilation of information 3. Meeting Presentation Tips

When making presentations, remember the following:

People tend to remember more clearly information received at the beginning and at the end of a session.

Keep presentations short as long presentations tend to make people lose their concentration and make their minds wander. Keep presentations to less than 50 minutes but not less than 15-20 minutes as people need time to absorb information, too.

Link information to other information in the presentation, as these links help people remember.

Review information presented earlier

Use visual or audio aids to render complex ideas simpler

Use breaks frequently and effectively as these allow people’s minds to recall information more effectively

Use mnemonic devices to aid assimilation of information

4. Communicating with a Group Presenting to a small group can be just as intimidating as presenting to a large group. In either case, the following tips will be useful: Know your objective and stick to it Act confidently and be seen to believe in what you are saying Be enthusiastic when appropriate Be attentive to the audience’s response and reactions (including body language) Know your subject Prepare Know your audience; view things from their perspective and relate constantly to their own situation Keep it short and simple Check for understanding by asking questions Use quotes, examples, references, stories, case studies, pictures, graphs, etc to paint vivid pictures Vary your voice tone to emphasize words and sentences

Presenting to a small group can be just as intimidating as presenting to a large group. In either case, the following tips will be useful:

Know your objective and stick to it

Act confidently and be seen to believe in what you are saying

Be enthusiastic when appropriate

Be attentive to the audience’s response and reactions (including body language)

Know your subject

Prepare

Know your audience; view things from their perspective and relate constantly to their own situation

Keep it short and simple

Check for understanding by asking questions

Use quotes, examples, references, stories, case studies, pictures, graphs, etc to paint vivid pictures

Vary your voice tone to emphasize words and sentences

5. Using audio-visual aids When using overhead projectors, flipcharts, or 35mm slide projector, or video, you need to ensure the following: Make sure everyone can see and hear the images/sounds from the audio-visual aid Test the equipment and the presentation before you start Use bold text and colors whenever possible Keep messages and key points short. Sentences should be no longer than 15 words Make good use of graphs, diagrams and pictures Check and double-check all your graphics and software

When using overhead projectors, flipcharts, or 35mm slide projector, or video, you need to ensure the following:

Make sure everyone can see and hear the images/sounds from the audio-visual aid

Test the equipment and the presentation before you start

Use bold text and colors whenever possible

Keep messages and key points short. Sentences should be no longer than 15 words

Make good use of graphs, diagrams and pictures

Check and double-check all your graphics and software

A to Z Ask participants to pair up and think of a named item for each letter of the alphabet. A range of topics can be used, including: Occupations (architect, baker, chemist…) Cities (Albuquerque, Brussels, Cairo…) Musical instruments (accordion, banjo, cello…) Animals (aardvark, bear, camel…) Foods (artichoke, bread, celery…) Give participants 3 minutes for the task and then hold a brief discussion using the following discussion points: Did it surprise you how many different words you could generate? How much variety do we actually use in our conversation, compared to the richness we could use? Ask participants to compile similar lists from their own special field of interest or on the topic of the meeting. This exercise helps participants practice quick thinking and raise energy levels. 6. Icebreakers, Energizers and Interludes to Liven Up Your Meetings

A to Z

Ask participants to pair up and think of a named item for each letter of the alphabet. A range of topics can be used, including:

Occupations (architect, baker, chemist…)

Cities (Albuquerque, Brussels, Cairo…)

Musical instruments (accordion, banjo, cello…)

Animals (aardvark, bear, camel…)

Foods (artichoke, bread, celery…)

Give participants 3 minutes for the task and then hold a brief discussion using the following discussion points:

Did it surprise you how many different words you could generate?

How much variety do we actually use in our conversation, compared to the richness we could use?

Ask participants to compile similar lists from their own special field of interest or on the topic of the meeting.

This exercise helps participants practice quick thinking and raise energy levels.

Be An Author Give each participant eight sheets of paper and pencil or pen. Explain that a story is to be created and decide, with the group, whether it will be a tale of romance and adventure, or a mystery, etc. Agree, with the group, on the names for the hero, heroine, and villain. When the signal to start is given, each participant must write a paragraph or so, describing the background of the tale and the setting into which they wish first to place their hero. When everyone has finished, ask them to put their topmost sheet (on which they’ve written) to the bottom of the pile, and pass the pile to the next participant on their left to write on. 6. Icebreakers, Energizers and Interludes to Liven Up Your Meetings

Be An Author

Give each participant eight sheets of paper and pencil or pen. Explain that a story is to be created and decide, with the group, whether it will be a tale of romance and adventure, or a mystery, etc.

Agree, with the group, on the names for the hero, heroine, and villain. When the signal to start is given, each participant must write a paragraph or so, describing the background of the tale and the setting into which they wish first to place their hero.

When everyone has finished, ask them to put their topmost sheet (on which they’ve written) to the bottom of the pile, and pass the pile to the next participant on their left to write on.

Devising Mentally First prepare copies of the following handout: Participants can work individually or in pairs. Distribute the handout. Ask participants to take a word from each column and find eight words or phrases each of which is made up of three elements – for example, lock up garage. Review the answers and award the participants with the most right answers. This exercise helps participants practice concentration skills. 6. Icebreakers, Energizers and Interludes to Liven Up Your Meetings Screw And Three Ness Horse Butter Pinion Core Brake Cable Up Thread Paris Fly Work Ship Of Lock Power Bare Rack Garage Men Plaster C B A

Guess who? First, prepare copies of the following handout: My Favorite 6. Icebreakers, Energizers and Interludes to Liven Up Your Meetings Possession is TV show is Daydream is Magazine is Book is Actor is Sandwich filling is Color is Song is Film is

Group participants into 5 or more, depending on the size of the group. Distribute the handout to participants and ask each one to complete it. Ask participants to write down their first and instinctive answers so just give them a few minutes to do this. After answering, ask participants to assign a team leader for each group. The team leader collects all the completed handouts, shuffle them and give out clues, from each sheet, with the rest of the team trying to guess who the person is from the clues or responses given. Allow time for everyone to be identified. After the exercise, ask the following questions to generate sharing and discussion: -- What clues gave people away? -- Which participants were the most difficult to identify? -- What surprised you about other people’s responses? -- What responses made it difficult to guess whose answer it was? -- How did you feel when your colleagues were right – or wrong – about the responses they attributed to you? 6. Icebreakers, Energizers and Interludes to Liven Up Your Meetings

Group participants into 5 or more, depending on the size of the group. Distribute the handout to participants and ask each one to complete it. Ask participants to write down their first and instinctive answers so just give them a few minutes to do this.

After answering, ask participants to assign a team leader for each group. The team leader collects all the completed handouts, shuffle them and give out clues, from each sheet, with the rest of the team trying to guess who the person is from the clues or responses given. Allow time for everyone to be identified.

After the exercise, ask the following questions to generate sharing and discussion:

-- What clues gave people away?

-- Which participants were the most difficult to identify?

-- What surprised you about other people’s responses?

-- What responses made it difficult to guess whose answer it

was?

-- How did you feel when your colleagues were right – or wrong –

about the responses they attributed to you?

Human Bingo Prepare the following handout: Ask people to work individually or in pairs. Distribute the handout. Tell the participants to circulate as quickly as they can and write the name of one person in each box. Keep the exercise going until all, or nearly all, the participants have full house. Reward those who completed the exercise first. This exercise helps break the ice in a larger meeting or conference and encourage participants to share information about each other in a lighthearted manner. 6. Icebreakers, Energizers and Interludes to Liven Up Your Meetings Plays a musical instrument Has a famous friend or relative Can juggle or do a magic trick Has run a marathon Drives a red car Is bald Has a tattoo Speaks two languages Is over 6 feet tall

BusinessSummaries.com is a business book Summaries service. Every week, it sends out to subscribers a 9- to 12-page summary of a best-selling business book chosen from among the hundreds of books printed out in the United States. For more information, please go to http://www.bizsum.com. ABOUT BUSINESSSUMMARIES

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