The Playful Meeting

What do you think of when I say ‘team meetings’? When we asked this question at  a recent workshop we heard words like:

  • Unproductive
  • Ego driven
  • Disagreement
  • Decision by committee
  • Time consuming
  • Boring
  • Pointless

Granted, not ALL internal meetings are like this, but a high enough proportion are for them to be considered, at the very least, a potential waste of time and not nearly as creative and productive as they should be.  Staying on task and mentally ‘in the room’ for even a 30 minute meeting can be a challenge when they are frankly dull, especially when your emails, deadlines and other responsibilities are calling you.

What we should think when we think ‘meetings‘ is; productive, collaborative, engaging, creative, fun, but who amongst us can honestly say that this is their experience.  The Game Trainers felt that this simply wasn’t good enough and so set about promoting and facilitating a series of ‘games’ and playful approaches for meetings that support the development of exactly this.

One of the main objectives of The Game Trainers approach is to get all participants engaged, focused and more often than not, moving about.  Mind and body cannot be separated, and it’s impossible to expect the mind to stay focused and on task whilst the body is stationary for lengthy periods.  So, many of our meeting games incorporate movement, not much, but just enough to support participants to stay alert and engaged.

The choice of game used will often be determined by the aims of the meeting, and they may not always be appropriate. The below examples are usually best for internal team meetings.

Here are a few examples that you could use straight away. If you would like any support or advice on how to facilitate them please feel free to get in touch with The Game Trainers, and watch out for our upcoming workshop, Playful Meetings for Productivity and Engagement’

Hold the front page

Consider an aspirational future for the company, client or project; then design and draw the front page of a magazine featuring a report on that future.  Ideal for creating a shared vision, priorities and ownership.

Ideas tennis

Literally batting ideas back and forth between individuals and teams on paper balls, adding thoughts, feedback, strategies, assessments and priorities.  Ideal for generating creative and collaborative solutions.

Resource Auction

Teams or individuals value and bid on company or project resources or selling points to identify priorities.  Ideal for prioritising limited resources and allocating them appropriately.

Information mining

Individuals research different topics. They then trade information, trying to collate as much useful, varied and connected data as possible. Ideal for sharing information, developing a shared understanding of issues and ensuring colleagues are well-prepared in advance.

Plane speaking

Create paper aeroplanes and write a problem or concern on the inside. The planes are flown, caught, and ideas written against the problem/concern. After five flights, open up the planes and discuss the proposed solutions.  Ideal for developing collaboration and shared solutions to individual problems and concerns.

Homepage Hotspots

Ranking and prioritising elements of a service or product by identifying which attributes take high profile positions on a website home page.  Ideal for identifying shared and disparate priorities across a team and creatively developing alignment.

Balloon Debate

Individuals write an issue or information they want or expect to be raised on a piece of paper, place it in a balloon and then inflate it. When and if it is raised or dealt with they pop their balloon. Any balloons left over can form an AOB.Ideal for encouraging preparation and reflecting on meetings’ usefulness, relevance and productivity.

Solutions Cycle

A rotating brainstorm and voting session. Identify various issues to discuss and disperse on flip chart paper around the room. Participating individuals or teams move around writing a relevant idea under each issue. They then circulate again to vote with ticks on others’ ideas.  Ideal for genetrating lots of ideas fast, and collaboratively deciding upon the most popular and viable solutions.

For  more information on meeting games or other services of The Game Trainers please get in touch , or .

The Game Trainers workshop Playful Meetings for Productivity and Engagement is a one day workshop for anyone interested in getting the most out of their team and meetings.

To keep updated on this and other workshops, please subscribe  here.


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