A key step in planning a meeting is how you will engage your audience. Have you ever noticed that it takes 5-15 minutes depending on the size of the group just to get focused once the meeting starts? People are catching up, guessing what the agenda is about and providing ample opportunity for a leader to engage a team before the meeting even starts.
Ice breakers are incredibly effective ways at engaging your audience, building team relationships, as well as tying in a message. I spend a small portion of each team meeting by creatively planning an event, game or exercise to draw my audience in, and then relate it all together throughout the meeting.
For example: one of my team meetings was around building effective schedules with my leaders. We broke into 5 groups and we each played a round of Jenga! The goal was to have the most pieces pulled from the tower before the pile came crashing down. The team that had the most pieces won.
After we got back together as a group, we discussed what went well, what the team’s strategies were, and what specifically the winning team did to reign supreme. As planned, the responses were surrounding having the right pieces in place, not overweighing one side, and the strongest towers were the teams that planned ahead.
Correlating our ice breaker into the meeting, I explained how having the right people in the right place, preplanning, and not over/under scheduling team members was crucial to schedule building. This like many other ice breakers made the meeting a complete success!
There are many activities available to engage family, friends and employees. My recommendation is that if you have a specific objective of a meeting, spend some time planning your ice breaker, it really will set the mood for the rest of the meeting. Remember that your audience needs some time to engage. If you need help on a specific meeting feel free to reach out to me and I will gladly provide guidance on engaging your team and as always continuing to help us develop daily!
-Michael Dooley (firstname.lastname@example.org)