How to make meetings more fun and interactive

Helping your audience connect and interact during meetings is more important than ever to ensure you have effective and productive sessions. If you have bored attendees who don’t engage with the meeting, you will be less likely to see a positive outcome at the end; problems will be left unresolved and creative ideas won’t be explored.

Sometimes it can be difficult to encourage people to express their ideas and discuss their opinions, but here at UK Office Direct, we have put together a guide to help you bring some life and energy to your meetings.

Be smart about your schedule

Before you get started there are two important things you should consider; the time of day and the length of your meeting.

The best time of the day is usually mid-afternoon, around 2.30pm. People will feel re-energised after their lunch and will have all their important tasks completed by this time. Early morning meetings should be avoided where possible, as people are just starting to wake up and may have high priority tasks to complete. Conducting a meeting late in the day can bring together disengaged audiences that are feeling tired and run down after a busy day.

Think about how long you need to present the information you have. If you have a lot of content to cover, separate your meeting in to two sessions to help the audience digest the information. Ensure you stick to your timings and don’t overrun on the less important facts. There’s nothing worse than overrunning in one meeting, throwing you off course for the rest of the day.

Fun icebreakers

Icebreaker games in the workplace are a great way to help your participants feel more comfortable around each other. Even if you have regular meetings, a brief icebreaker can make your team stronger and create a more effective environment.

Help your employees get to know each other with these two icebreaker games:

Skittles icebreaker – Bring in a big bag of coloured sweets and on your whiteboard, write down five or six questions such as “what’s your favourite part of the workday?” Each question should be given a colour that matches a sweet. Go around the room and ask each participant to pick out a coloured sweet and answer their allocated question.

Toilet roll icebreaker – Pass round a roll of toilet paper and ask the participants to tear off what they normally use when they do their “business”. Once they have ripped their sheets, explain to everyone that for each sheet they tore off, they must share one fact about themselves.

Encourage creativity

Brainstorming sessions are a great way to get the creative juices flowing. They can encourage everyone to speak and generate a high number of ideas. You can bring together participants with different knowledge and experiences to build on ideas and refine them.

When you feel like you’re at a standstill with creativity, challenge the team to come up with the worst idea possible. This will infuse fun and laughter and after a couple of minutes these off-the-wall ideas can create a breakthrough by reimagining the ideas into more appropriate and successful ones.

Another way to encourage participation and get ideas flowing is a game called “Yes and…”. Allow one person to start off with a basic concept and then the person they are sat next to has to say, “Yes, and…” They must accept the scenario as it’s presented and then to add to it. Each person should try to add something that the next person will also be able to build from.

Make it interactive

Getting interactive in meetings allows colleagues to engage with the information being discussed. Allow your attendants to have breakout discussions throughout your presentation. By getting participants to discuss in groups it makes it more likely that several will contribute to the larger conversation.

It is important to get your meetings moving and encourage participants out of their chairs. A great way to encourage this is by using sticky notes. They are a great way to analyse a process or problem, finding ways to simplify or gain a better understanding of your problem. They can help plan a project or be a great method for generating new ideas with the benefit of being able to add things to your ideas or even combining concepts.

Keep your presentations simple and concentrate on your core message. It’s important to make the audience feel like they are part of the story. You should want them to participate in your presentation and make it more interactive. Adding videos to your presentation helps to evoke emotions, which can get your participants in the right mood whilst reinforcing your message.

To gather the participants attention, ask questions throughout your presentation. There is a great app you can download online called Kahoot! which you can use to quiz the audience after every chapter. This can help bring fun and engagement to your meeting room. Before your meeting, ask your audience to bring their phones and download the app. Players answer the questions on their own devices, while games are displayed on a shared screen to unite the lesson.

Arrange the setting

The physical setting for a meeting has a direct impact on the level of cooperation or resistance the participants will feel. Think about your room size and the number of attendees. If your room is too small and crammed with many people, it can make people feel tense. Having a larger space can encourage expression and make people feel more comfortable.

There are many things to consider when thinking of the office seating for your meeting room space. Executive chairs offer style and comfort whilst stacking chairs are easy to move around to create additional space.

Your meeting room chairs need to be comfortable. There’s nothing worse than sitting uncomfortably and not being able to concentrate because of it. You should also allow participants to take regular breaks if your meeting is running for a long period of time. By allowing the group to stretch their legs and grab a drink, they will come back feeling refreshed and ready to engage again.

Be prepared!

Make sure you have all your office supplies to hand before the meeting. Replace your flipchart pad and wipe clean the whiteboard. Lay out materials and make sure pens and paper are available. Adjust the heating so that everyone feels comfortable and make sure there are jugs of water on the table to keep everyone hydrated.

So, now that you’ve got all the essentials nailed down, it’s time for you to make your boring meetings fun, interactive and engaging.

We would love to hear from you and find out how your meetings go down. Have you tried any of our tips? Or do you have any other great ideas you’d like to share? Write in our comment box below.

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