Meetings can be boring and un-engaging. As a meeting facilitator, the onus is on you to keep the participants involved and engaged. Here are a few tips and ice-breakers:

  • Ask each attendee to bring one article/item for the facilitation kit. Spend the first few mins of the meeting asking them why they picked that item.
  • Use the speed dating concept: Divide the attendees into groups of two and ask them to converse. At the end – one of them introduces the other to the wider team and vice versa.
  • Bring a pack of playing cards and give each person three cards to use as speaking lifelines. They have to use these three cards before the meeting ends for three turns to express ideas/opinions. This will bring a balance of participation limiting the talkers and forcing the silent sheep to speak up.
  • Organize a building activity – most introverts will express ideas better by action than by words. Use marshmallows and stick noodles, or Legos as building blocks
  • Stickies and a wall – mind mapping helps people provide ideas and views anonymously
  • Use Red/Green tags for voting in/out options and ideas. Build heat maps.
  • Provide the attendees with some magazines and scissors and ask them to create a collage in 5-10 mins that describes them. And now let a neighbor introduce them based on the collage.

As a meeting organizer,

  1. Have a clear agenda. Communicate it well in advance
  2. If the meeting will have a presentation, send slides before hand. Encourage people to do some homework and come prepared with ideas for further discussion
  3. Try TED talk formats for idea sharing
  4. Retrospects and feedback are the essence of improvement – Ask audience what they liked about that meeting – What should you keep / change.
  5. Cater to all sects of people – extroverts and introverts. Extroverts need open platform to express while Introverts need specific and focused questions.