According to a report by communication software company Fuze, executives consider more than 67% of meetings to be failures. This can be due to multitasking during meetings, a lack of planning and structure from the team leader, and an inability of attendees to stay engaged. To gain focus and make your meetings more stimulating, try bringing one of these items. They’re meant to make your meeting more effective, stimulate creativity and bring out the best ideas your teammates have to offer.
They’re no longer just for the kids! Simple doodling is proven to increase focus and self-esteem, while creating a sense of calm. Coloring promotes active listening, so hand out some crayons and coloring books to get energy focused on the meeting at hand. Coloring is a fun thing to introduce at the start of a meeting to stimulate attention, and it then helps participants stay on task and listen properly.
A ball or game
Exercise is so beneficial overall, but in meetings specifically it’s an important way to get the blood — and creative juices — flowing. It also enhances problem solving and divergent thinking, allowing the brain to dream up many possible solutions. Take a break from your meeting to stand up and play an active game such as throwing a ball. (Bonus points for having your meeting at a basketball court!) Try it out during a short break, and then incorporate more activity or games if your team responds positively.
Set a jar on the table (or in the corner if you want to be more discreet) to help calibrate your meetings, especially if they tend to go too long. If your meeting does go into overtime, the team leader must put $5 in the jar. This enhances productivity and lets your teammates know that every minute counts in this meeting. Fill the jar up, and buy beers for everyone — always a great team-builder!
Creativity can be sparked by listening to meditative music, either as a background for the duration of the meeting or as an introductory five-minute listening exercise to get everyone focused and mindful. Or play a podcast, or even a video. Creative thinking comes from the connections our minds make, and this can be sparked by something outside our usual realm of thinking, listening or viewing.
Tactile objects such as Play-Doh stimulate various regions of the brain. Squeezing and molding will enhance hand-eye coordination and concentration, and perhaps relieve stress. You can even use Play-Doh to help prove a point in a meeting through artistic expression. In the very least, you’ll be adding color to the table, something any team member will remember and appreciate.
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