If you leave your office meetings feeling frustrated, demoralized and are always telling your co-workers “We’ve got to stop meeting like this!” then maybe you need to look at ways of injecting a little more fun and humor into your meetings. Adding some humor can help:
Adding humor to your meetings doesn’t mean that total anarchy will ensue. To run an effective meeting you still need to have a well planned agenda and a skilled facilitator. All adding humor will do is ensure your meetings are memorable, effective and successful. Here are a few simple ways you can add a bit of humor to your next business meeting.
Create a Fun Agenda. Add cartoons, funny quotes or use humorous titles or sub-titles to describe the agenda items. Include a clip out coupon as part of the agenda for people to redeem for a prize at the meeting.
Kick off the meeting with a fun meeting icebreaker. (Sign up for our free weekly Inspiring Workplaces – Humor at Work e-zine and you’ll get a free download of more than 50 ways how to open your meetings and add more fun to your meetings tip sheet)
Make Fun an Agenda Item. Set aside 10 minutes for a staff laugh or humor break where participants can share humorous work-related stories, quotes or jokes. Use a fun ice breaker to loosen people up or introduce folks in a non threatening fun manner.
Meet in a Fun Location. There’s nothing like a change of scenery for a fresh perspective. Try meeting at a city park, museum, someone’s house or on the back lawn. A different and more relaxed neutral setting can make it much easier for folks to access their sense of humor.
Create a Fun Meeting Room Environment. The next best thing to meeting somewhere fun is creating a fun meeting room. Stock your meeting room with fun props, humorous posters, puzzles, books or games to give participants the opportunity to lighten up a little.
Create Fun Rewards to Encourage Positive Meeting Behavior. Dole out small, inexpensive gifts for everyone who shows up on time, have an award for the most memorable meeting line or a prize for the shortest presentation to encourage brevity.
Create Fun Penalties to Discourage Unwanted Meeting Behavior. Have everyone who arrives late put a dollar in the coffee fund, play jargon bingo to encourage the use of simple language, shoot water guns at who ever utters an idea squashing phrase (such as, “We tried that once in 1917”) and a have a buzzer you can press every time someone tells a bad or inappropriate joke. Have everyone don clown noses when tensions start to rise to encourage people to laugh and keep their emotions in check.
Hold Theme Meetings. Tie your meeting to a Holiday celebration, or have every third meeting linked to a theme such as Wacky Accessory Day, Mismatched Sock Day, Beach Day, Polyester Day or Dress Like Your Co-worker Day.
Assign a Meeting Jester. Assign someone each meeting, separate from the chairperson or facilitator, who is responsible to ensuring there is an injection of fun and humor at the next meeting. Their job would include arranging any celebrations (such as an employee’s birthday), door prizes and fun awards.
Bring Fun Food. Food is a great icebreaker and conversation starter. Tie the food to a specific theme, for example, have popcorn when a video is going to be shown, light bulb shaped cookies for a creative brainstorming meeting or create your own customized fortune cookies with quotes that link to the theme of your particular meeting.
End on an Upbeat Note. It’s important to end a meeting on an upbeat note so participants feel positive and encouraged after a meeting. So schedule a door prize for the end of every meeting, dole out an award for the funniest anecdote or end with a humorous “quote or thought of the day” that changes with every meeting.
Taking a little time to plan an injection of fun and humor to your next meeting is the easiest way to get participants saying “We’ve got to keep meeting like this!”
Michael Kerr is an international business speaker, trainer and author of “The Humor Advantage – Why Some Businesses are Laughing All the Way to the Bank,” “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humor to Work” and “Inspiring Workplaces.” You can reach Michael at 1-(866)-609-2640 or firstname.lastname@example.org . For more humor at work articles, DVDs and other humor at work resources, surf on over to www.mikekerr.com .
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