Spring Clean Your Meetings! The Art of A Fresh Start


This blog contains a series of videos and handouts on how to dramatically enliven your meetings. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring is often the time we take to get rid of old, NOT useful things. It is a time to freshen up our day-to-day living space. We call this process “spring cleaning”. Since we have day-to-day meetings, why not “spring clean” those as well? We will encourage you to “throw out” things that are not working and add small new “fresh touches” to improve participation and productivity from all meeting participants. Some of the tips will be immediately applicable. Some are ones we hope you are already using. Some will stretch you a bit but we hope they move you closer to being a more collaborative meeting leader.

1. First of all we’ll try to convince you to change your routine meeting style with the WHY.
2. Then we’ll tell you WHAT to do to improve meeting participation.
3. Then we cover HOW to manage resistance from those uncomfortable with change.

You may have seen some of these videos or handouts in our Facebook ad campaign last year. We are recirculating this material because we think is good! Ignore the “Watch for another tip in your inbox” at the end of the videos! This blog includes everything in one handy spot.

Let us begin:

WHY use a variety of participation formats in your meetings?

Here is the essence of the 2+ minute video in a nutshell.

You use activities that engage all the 8 intelligences (Howard Garner) because they

  • Engagement: People are not always at their best in the meeting. What can you do to lift their spirits if the current state is low energy or morale?
  • Richer Thinking: If you help people make connections between what they already know and the current issues they are discussing, you get much better products.
  • Productivity: Different learning formats keep participants focused and sharp for the ENTIRE meeting.
  • Accountability: Connecting people to each other with good interpersonal exercises in the meeting will naturally increase their desire to be accountable to each other. Most people do not want to disappoint colleagues they respect and like.
  • Enjoyment: The more positive and enjoyable your meetings are, the more people will arrive at decisions amicably.

In this first video, we do also give some good examples of how to enhance each of the five things above. Here is a summary handout too! We recommend you print out all three handouts to take to your meetings. This will remind you as the meeting facilitator to apply these ideas.

WHAT are the ways to change up the format easily?

In this 2.5 minute video, we also give you five things to think about:

  • Expand ways you normally get people to speak and listen (verbal)
  • Enhance their ability to digest information with their eyes (visual)
  • Interact with each other inter-personally (social)
  • Engage with each other and the content of the meeting physically (physical movement)
  • Encourage creativity and innovation through the senses of taste and smell in particular (sensory)

HOW do you get buy-in to change your meeting format?

In this less than 2 minute video, we give you specific language to say at the beginning of your meeting to help reduce resistance from participants who might not respond well to change.

Most important though, is that you notice what resistance you have yourself to any of these ideas. How can I help you decrease that resistance? Write to me if you feel unconvinced please. Tell me why you cannot do these things. Maybe I can help with more specifics that are REALLY easy.

Barbara MacKay

Barbara loves “everything facilitation”. She thinks BIG! She loves working with other facilitators around the globe to create transformational results for client groups. She loves teaching others how to do that. She loves presenting at global facilitator conferences. She loves certifying new professional facilitators. If you also love what process facilitation can do for the world, connect with her – virtually or in person. She believes facilitation processes, used well, will provide the roadmap to a more just and sustainable world.