This textra game incorporates these important facts:
It is easier to compare two different items at a time than to compare a larger number of items.
When we compare two items, we understand them at a deeper level.
To review and compare different tips for meeting management.
Prepare enough Meeting Management Tip Cards. Make sure that you have a card for each participant. If you have fewer than 20 participants, you will have some cards left over. If you have more than 20 participants, you will be using more than one copy of some of the cards.
Read the tip. Distribute a Meeting Management Tip Card to each participant. Ask the participants to read the tip presented on the card and reflect on it. Invite them to think how useful this tip will be in managing their next meeting.
Share with a partner. Ask the participants to stand up, move around, and pair up with someone else. Instruct them to explain the tip presented in the card. Encourage the participants to discuss the relative usefulness of both tips.
Score the tips. Ask each pair of participants to distribute 7 points between the two tips to reflect their relative usefulness. Give examples of 7-point distributions: 4 and 3, 5 and 2, 6 and 1, or 7 and 0. Request the participants to avoid using fractions or negative numbers. When ready, ask participants to write the score points on the back of each card at the appropriate space for Round 1.
Repeat the process. Wait to make sure that everyone has written the score point on the backs of cards. Then ask participants to repeat the process of pairing up with a new partner, comparing the two tips on the cards, and distributing 7 points. Instruct them to write the new score points on the back of the card, in the appropriate space.
Announce that you will be conducting three more rounds of the activity. Encourage the participants to listen carefully to the tips presented by different partners before comparing and scoring the two tips.
Conclude the evaluation process. At the end of the fifth round, ask the participants to return to their seats with their Meeting Management Tip Card. Ask them to add the five score points and write the total.
Conduct a countdown. After pausing for the totals to be computed, explain that you are going to count down from 35. When a participant hears the total on the card, he or she should stand up and read the tip from the card. Begin counting down to identify the card with the highest score. After the participant reads the tip from the card, lead a round of applause. Repeat the countdown process until you have identified the top five to ten meeting management tips.
Conclude the activity. Thank the participants for comparing and scoring different meeting management tips. Distribute copies of the handout, 20 Meeting Management Tips. Explain that this handout lists all of the tips from the cards. Invite the participants to become familiar with these tips and to come up with additional tips of their own.
Variations and Adjustments
Want wider coverage? At the end of each round, ask the participants to exchange their cards. During the next round, each participant has to explain a new meeting management tip.
Not enough time? Reduce the number of compare-and-score rounds to three (instead of five).
Too many participants? This should not be a major problem since the activity is repeatedly conducted with two people at a time. You may want to use a group of non-playing Game Wardens for crowd control and to help you to efficiently implement the game procedure.
20 Tips for Meeting Management
- While it is important to invite some key people, it is equally important not to invite some others: people who have nothing to contribute, observers who have no immediate and useful inputs, senior people who inhibit the participation of others.
- When you are planning to conduct a series of meetings, prepare a list of ground rules during the first meeting. Prepare several posters with this list and display them on the meeting room. Include a copy of the list of the ground rules with the meeting agenda. Review this list periodically and revise the ground rules.
- When sharing information during a meeting, encourage the participants to be analytical, give all the necessary details, be accurate, be organized, and give complete and relevant answers to other people's questions. This type of analytical thinking contributes to better understanding of the issues and situations.
- When sharing information during a meeting, encourage and reinforce the participants to be respectful and polite. Ask them to listen actively, express feelings honestly, support each other, and to listen to all sides of an issue. This type of respectful behavior contributes to better understanding of the issues.
- When making decisions during a meeting, encourage and reinforce the participants to think critically by making clear and practical statements, making statements that are relevant to the issue, giving logical explanations, and providing proof for various statements. Critical thinking is important when making decisions during a meeting.
- When generating ideas during a meeting, encourage and reinforce the participants to think creatively. Invite them to present fresh new ideas, explore alternatives, be flexible, and keep an open mind. This type of thinking and talking results in creative solutions to the problem.
- Increase the trust level of participants by sticking to the agenda, completing action items on time, encouraging free sharing of ideas, showing equal respect to everyone's ideas, keeping an open mind, providing appropriate credit and recognition for participants' contributions, admitting mistakes, and giving honest feedback.
- Increase the participation of others by withholding your opinion as long as possible. When someone contributes an idea, encourage with, “Tell us more.” Ask probing and clarifying questions. Reinforce with “Thanks for your input.”
- Be positive. Research on business meetings (conducted by Marcial Losada) indicates that the ratio between positive and negative comments during a meeting should be 5:1 (or greater) in order to produce high-quality results. So increase the number of positive and supportive comments and decrease negative and critical comments. Encourage the other participants to do the same.
- When generating ideas during a meeting, encourage and reinforce the participants to make use of their intuition. Invite the participants to wait patiently for breakthrough ideas and to trust each others' instincts.
- Use these three simple questions to avoid unnecessary meeting: Is this meeting really necessary? Can the goal of this meeting be better achieved through an alternative approach? What would happen if the meeting is not held? If the answer to the last question is “Nothing,” you don't need the meeting.
- Use structured sharing approaches. Depending on the purpose of your meeting, use an appropriate step-by-step process to add discipline to the discussions. Use these techniques to structure the way the participants think about the issues and share their ideas.
- Use a standardized procedure for achieving similar goals of meetings. Whenever you need to make a decision, describe the issue, generate ideas, and select the best idea.
- The success of a meeting depends on effective selection and use of people and processes. Pay attention to recruiting and managing the people who will be attending the meeting. Also use a set of structured processes to conduct the meeting.
- Stick to agenda, especially if you have a fairly large group. Keep the meeting focused. If someone introduces an irrelevant item, make a note of it in the “parking lot” and explain that you will discuss at a later time when it is appropriate.
- Prepare and circulate an agenda: Include the goal and purpose for the meeting. Specify the date, time, and place. Include the agenda items to be covered.
- Make sure that everyone is heard from. Call on the quiet people directly. If you have a large number of participants, divide them into smaller groups during the discussion. Have each small group report back.
- Learn how to conduct virtual meetings. The principles of conducting effective face-to-face meetings apply to virtual meetings also. However you need to become familiar with the technical aspects of using the Internet, online software programs, video conferencing, and conference telephones.
- Keep an open mind. Focus on inquiry (finding facts) rather than on advocacy (persuading other participants to accept your ideas). Ask more questions and make fewer pronouncements.
- Increase the efficiency of meetings: Reduce the time spent on discussions and between making decisions and implementing them. Increase the quality and quantity of decisions made. Increase the participation and satisfaction of people who are attending the meeting.
Source: Thiagi Group