Nonprofit Network Blog

Say Goodbye to Boring Meetings

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 12:07 PM | Deleted user

Carrie Heider Grant

Program Coordinator

Say goodbye to boring meetings with these 10 strategies to promote engagement and innovation.

Do you know how much time the average employee spends in meetings?  I asked the all-knowing internet and was surprised to find that the answers range from 18-50% of their time, depending on their role in the organization.  That is wild!  

Time is, arguably, the scarcest of all resources at our disposal.  So it's critical not to waste it on unproductive and boring meetings. 

A truly valuable meeting is built on three things: 

  1. Thorough planning
  2. Precise agenda
  3. Engaging facilitation.

I am going to share some tools that we at Nonprofit Network often useboth internally at staff and board meetings and publicly with our clients—to make meetings engaging.

Say goodbye to boring meetings with these 10 strategies to promote engagement and innovation.

1)  Unplug.

Keep a basket at the door to hold cell phones until the meeting is over.

2)  Go paperless.

Cut out all paper. Use a white board for notes (take pictures with your phone to preserve records) or use collaborative apps to share the agenda and working materials.

3)  Leverage connections. 

Phones can be incredibly distracting at meetings. But they can also be an opportunity to encourage attendants to stay engaged by utilizing apps to participate in conversation, polls, and dialogue.

4)  Clear the clutter.

Remove tables from the room to promote openness.

5)  Color outside the lines.

Provide adult coloring pages and materials to jump-start creative thinking, promote active listening, increase information retention, and decompress stress. You can also provide some tactile toys that people can fidget with during conversation to keep their hands busy and their minds focused on the dialogue.

6)  Off the clock.

Start at an unconventional time. Weird times are more memorable and can help to reduce tardiness.

7)  Stay on your toes.

Consider removing chairs and holding a standing meeting. But be respectful of all attendants and do not alienate colleagues that are wheel-chair enabled or otherwise unable to participate in a standing meeting. The intent is to keep people engaged, and isolating attendants would be counterproductive and possibly harmful.

8)  Round robin.

Hold round robin conversations to gather more perspectives.

9)  Vote here.

Use sticky dots to "vote" and voice opinions.  This creates a visual that reinforces consensus in the room.

10)  Break it down.

To make the most of your time as a large group, separate into small groups to dialogue, then come back together and have one person from each group share the key points of their conversations.

Do you have any tried and true strategies that you use to keep people engaged in meetings?  Let us know!  I'd love to hear what you think.

Need help getting out of a run of boring meetings? We can help you build a plan to get out of the boring meeting cycle.

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Jackson, MI 49202
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