Step 3 of Turning Stale Staff Meetings into Productive Planning Sessions

This is the third piece in our series for renovating your staff meetings.  So far, we have covered how to de-clutter and create some inspiration to get things accomplished.  The final things we need to cover is how to get your staff to contribute, so we can have fire in the bellies.  Icebreakers, team activities, energising games….. whatever you want to call them, work to get individuals out of the gates and prepped for your meeting!

Your staff meeting won’t work well without your team making contributions and being prepared to discuss agenda items.  Someone suggested to me that running an icebreaker at the start of the meeting would be a sure way to change the mood from a lecture style to a working collaborative meeting.  I took on the challenge and researched some ideas.  Wow! What a difference it made. Our meetings now include a small 5-minute activity at the beginning.  These 5-minute sessions really do build teamwork, bring on smiles, and the best thing of all is the change in team member’s willingness to contribute. 

Each member takes a turn at running the activity.  Give each person time to prepare their activity before the meeting so it runs smoothly.  For the shy team members, it can be a challenge to run an activity, so I offer to help if needed.  It will help if you run the first one to set an example of what to expect.  What kind of activities, you may be asking?   Here are some basic ideas to get you started.  There are so many out there, just google icebreakers or teambuilding activities and you will find a plethora!

  • Draw a line down the middle of the room.  Have a list of choices.  People have to stand on which over the side of the line they feel represents their views on the topic… quickly as possible. Examples may be:  jump to the left if you like white wine, jump to the right if you like red.  Jump to the left for holiday on the beach, jump to the right for holiday in the bush, and so on.
  • Write different questions on pieces of paper and place them onto people’s chairs.  Each person much then answer their question to the group.  Try not to choose anything controversial, but rather keep it light-hearted, for example “What was your favourite childhood memory and why?”, or “Describe your perfect holiday…"
  • Divide into pairs.  Interview each other on something the group would most likely not know.  Have each pair report back to the group what they learnt about each other.
  • Have everyone bring in their favourite book and read and describe what they like about the book, what it is about, and what is their favourite paragraph.
  • Give each team member a topic.  Ask them to speak for one minute on the topic to the group.
  • Charades is always fun as well, or a quick version of Pictionary!

Finally, a couple of things to remember about any group activities.  Be enthusiastic, whatever happens!  The group will lead from your mood.  Don’t cause embarrassment to anyone in front of the team.  Ensure you don’t flog the activities to death, keep them short and therefore more effective.  Choose activities that are appropriate for your group.  Have fun!

Staffing, Culture

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