We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This!
If you leave your office meetings feeling frustrated, demoralized and are always telling your co-workers “We’ve got to stop meeting like this!” then maybe you need to look at ways of injecting a little more fun and humour into your meetings. Adding some humour can help:
- Get people to show up (and show up on time).
- Make people actually want to be there.
- Spark ideas during creativity meetings.
- Encourage open dialogue.
- Build trust between people.
- Foster a sense of teamwork.
- Promote positive behaviour.
- Discourage unwanted behaviour in a non-threatening way.
- Make business presentations more effective and memorable
- Help meeting attendees retain the meeting information.(If folks can’t remember the meeting, how are they supposed to remember what was said at your meeting?)
- Reduce escalating conflicts and keep communication flowing on a positive channel.
- Reduce stress levels.
- Keep people awake (always a good minimum goal).
- Leave participants feeling energized and excited after a meeting.
Adding humour to your meetings doesn’t mean that total anarchy will ensue. To run an effective meeting you still need to have a well planned agenda and a skilled facilitator. All adding humour will do is ensure your meetings are memorable, effective and successful. Here are a few simple ways you can add a bit of humour to
your next business meeting.
- Create a Fun Agenda. Add cartoons, funny quotes or use humorous titles or sub-titles to describe the agenda items. Include a clip out coupon as part of the agenda for people to redeem for a prize at the meeting.
- Make Fun an Agenda Item. Set aside 10 minutes for a staff laugh or humour break where participants can share humourous work-related stories, quotes or jokes. Use a fun ice breaker to loosen people up or introduce folks in a non threatening fun manner.
- Meet in a Fun Location. There’s nothing like a change of scenery for a fresh perspective. Try meeting at a city park, museum, someone’s house or on the back lawn. A different and more relaxed neutral setting can make it much easier for folks to access their sense of humour.
- Create a Fun Meeting Room Environment. The next best thing to meeting somewhere fun is creating a fun meeting room. Stock your meeting room with fun props, humorous posters, puzzles, books or games to give participants the opportunity to lighten up a little.
- Create Fun Rewards to Encourage Positive Meeting Behaviour. Dole out small, inexpensive gifts for everyone who shows up on time, have an award for the most memorable meeting line or a prize for the shortest presentation to encourage brevity.
- Create Fun Penalties to Discourage Unwanted Meeting Behaviour. Have everyone who arrives late put a dollar in the coffee fund, play jargon bingo to encourage the use of simple language, shoot water guns at who ever utters an idea squashing phrase (such as, “We tried that once in 1917”) and a have a buzzer you can press every time someone tells a bad or inappropriate joke. Have everyone don clown noses when tensions start to rise to encourage people to laugh and keep their emotions in check.
- Hold Theme Meetings. Tie your meeting to a Holiday celebration, or have every third meeting linked to a theme such as Wacky Accessory Day, Mismatched Sock Day, Beach Day, Polyester Day or Dress Like Your Co-worker Day.
- Assign a Meeting Jester. Assign someone each meeting, separate from the chairperson or facilitator, who is responsible to ensuring there is an injection of fun and humour at the next meeting. Their job would include arranging any celebrations (such as an employee’s birthday), door prizes and fun awards.
- Bring Fun Food. Food is a great icebreaker and conversation starter. Tie the food to a specific theme, for example, have popcorn when a video is going to be shown, light bulb shaped cookies for a creative brainstorming meeting or create your own customized fortune cookies with quotes that link to the theme of your particular meeting.
- End on an Upbeat Note. It’s important to end a meeting on an upbeat note so participants feel positive and encouraged after a meeting. So schedule a door prize for the end of every meeting, dole out an award for the funniest anecdote or end with a humorous “quote or thought of the day” that changes with every meeting.
Taking a little time to plan an injection of fun and humour to your next meeting is the easiest way to get participants saying “We’ve got to keep meeting like this!”
Michael Kerr is an international speaker, trainer and author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work” and “Inspiring Workplaces.” You can reach Michael at 1-(866)-609-2640 or firstname.lastname@example.org . For more humor at work articles, DVDs and other humor at work resources, surf on over to www.mikekerr.com .