Why Fun Meetings Are Productive Meetings

Meetings.

Everybody hates them.

The thing is, if they are done well, they’re an opportunity for people to connect, build community and resolve issues. A good meeting can facilitate your team’s syncing up, gaining clarity, and leaving with more energy to do its job effectively.

I’ve found that starting meetings with a fun warm-up activity can help to clear people’s minds of whatever they were thinking about beforehand. It brings them into the present moment.

For example, I was recently at The Hard Rock Hotel for a business function. Before we began our meeting, I asked everyone:

 “What was your first rock concert? How old were you and where was it?”

Super simple. Super fun. Super interesting. Everybody had ready answers and the stories were hilarious.

Having fun cleared their minds of flights, traffic, hotel rooms, and the last email they sent. It also created connection and relaxed us, which made us better poised to solve problems. While people sometimes think that warm-ups and icebreakers are a weird, organizational development thing, there’s actually neuroscience behind them.

In his TED Talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Work,” Shawn Anchor, author of The Happiness Advantage explains:

“If you can raise somebody’s positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we call a ‘happiness advantage.’ . . . Your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral, or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. In fact, we found that every single business outcome improves.”

When we don’t take advantage of the fun quotient at work, we can create a death march for our team. If our staff is using words and phrases like “have to” or “should,” they are not having fun and it’s going to negatively affect the quality of their work. It’s essential that we nurture the parts of us that want to play while working, so that work and play don’t exist at two ends of a spectrum, but rather can co-exist.

Try this:

Start your next meeting with a fun question. Depending on the size of the group, people can share their answers in pairs, small groups, or with the whole group. No need for this activity to take more than 5-10 minutes. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • What was your first rock concert? How old were you and where was it?
  • What did you do on your last vacation?
  • What was the best team you ever worked on, or played on and why?
  • What surprised you yesterday? It can be at home or work.

Onward and keep tapping your talent,

Cindy

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