Whereas there isn’t a guaranteed way to make your meetings fun and super productive, we have tried to brainstorm some ideas that will surely improve the level of engagement for your events and conferences. There are so many factors to be considered like the type of the audience or the nature of the meeting and therefore, the only limit to what one can do with their meetings is their creativity.
Commence your meetings with an icebreaker
What’s an icebreaker? About.com defines an ice breaker as “An activity, game, or event that is used to welcome and warm up the conversation among participants in a meeting, training class, team building session, or another event.” This is a very good tool for meetings where the participants are required to interact and share ideas since it will warm up the discussion, strengthen the subject of the session, and guarantee that members make the most of their collaboration and the session.
Use engaging visuals and fun presentations
This will not only make your presentations engaging but it will also ensure that most people understand the content that is being delivered. A perfect way to make your content engaging is to animate some parts of the content, use infographics or use a few hilarious illustrations and images at specific intervals. Be careful not to overuse them or be irrelevant, this could worsen the situation.
The power of silence and dramatic pauses
Dramatic pauses during a presentation create a form of awkward silence that makes us unconsciously reflect on what has been delivered and pay more attention to what is about to be added. However, this should be used creatively to avoid uncomfortable situations during the meetings or presentations.
Match the décor & ambience with the type of the meeting
This might seem a little unrelated but it is a very important aspect of getting your audience to feel calm and comfortable and therefore concentrate throughout the meeting. An environment that is too shabby will either distract or disorient the delegates and it’s very hard to get their attention in this state.
Introduce a few games
No one wants to be in one meeting for too long, it’s monotonous and boring at the same time. As a meeting coordinator or facilitator, be sure to design a few games that don’t consume much time and make sure they are interesting enough otherwise you risk embarrassing yourself or even worsen the situation. An example is to pick five people from the audience and give each one of them a blank paper and a pen and tell them to put the paper on top of their heads and draw their faces. The catch; you will be amazed to see the hilarious outcomes. Tell the audience to choose the winner and reward him/her.
Have a well-planned program/Agenda
A poor transition from one section to another or from one speaker to another only makes you look disorganized. Make a clear plan of what you want to achieve from the meeting, what should be done at what time and an elaborate coordination of all the activities during your meeting. This helps to save time as well as keep the audience engaged up to the last minute. Also, make sure that you follow through your time plan, if a speaker exceeds his or her allocated time, it’s okay to signal them or better yet have a timekeeper specifically for that purpose.
Most people will actually learn more by practicing and therefore, whenever possible, make sure they are actively involved. The best way to do this is to have a question and answer session where the audience can ask questions based on the topic being discussed. You can even change the whole set up of a meeting and do it like a talk show, if you don’t have a facilitator, a member can volunteer to be the host and the speaker can act as the guest.
Take your meetings outside
One of the most effective ways to get your audience excited about the meeting is to take it outside the conference hall. Most meeting venues will be willing to be flexible and exceed their customer’s expectations by allowing them to use their grounds for a part of the meeting. Even if it means paying a little extra, it is definitely worth it. This, however, is only applicable when you have chosen the right venue that has a serene garden or environment. You can even go an extra mile and take your event to a bush venue and make sure you use a set up that is convenient to that kind of a venue.
You will be surprised how much people are willing to chip in ideas and to answer questions when they are promised something. No matter what you are offering as the speaker or the facilitator, the level of creativity and idea generation will go up if you incentivize your meeting. People get excited and more proactive when there is something to look forward to.