Ideas: Encourage Creative Meetings

This idea is excerpted from Barbara’s book “Handle with CARE — Motivating and Retaining Employees” (McGraw-Hill 2002).

The Idea:


These meeting facts are reported from the 3M Meetings Management Institute:

  • The average time spent in meetings is 1.7 hours per day per professional employee.
  • Executives spend at least 50% of their time in meetings.
  • On an average day, more than 17 million meetings are held.
  • Meetings with fewer than 10 participants make up 88% of meetings.
  • The most productive meetings last under an hour, but the average meeting length is about two hours.

Bob Greene, a syndicated columnist, humorously suggests: ”Give corporate America tax breaks for getting rid of meetings and watch our economy soar, and the mood of the workplace broaden into a half-remembered grin.”

Making meetings creative, innovative, productive, and positive is one of the ways managers and supervisors can raise morale and keep employees feeling good about their workplace.

The Idea In Action:

A creative communication idea for meetings that I’ve been sharing with my audiences is to begin every meeting they attend, whether it is in their workplace, their school, their church, or their community, with three minutes of “Good News.” Just ask anyone in the meeting to share any good thing that has happened to them—on the job, in their family, in their community.

My clients are telling me that the results are dramatic. Not only are their meetings more positive and productive, but they are shorter, people are coming on time because they don’t want to miss the good news, and they are learning things about one another they never knew before.

Since most meetings are focused on what is going wrong, what a joy it is to begin with what is going right! We all need to be more positive people in our workplaces and focus on the good we have done.

If you are uncomfortable with the “good news” idea, try starting every meeting with some short sharing time on the human level (5 to 10 minutes):

  • Have people share something they love—a hobby, a collection, a pastime.
  • Have everyone tell one thing about their families.
  • Have each person share the greatest way they can think of to spend a birthday.
  • Have each person share what they would do with a thousand dollars if they could not save or invest it but had to spend it on something.
  • Have each person share their favorite vacation spot.
  • Have each person share where they grew up.

When people share something that is important or unique to them, it creates relationships and teambuilding as well as adding some lighthearted fun. You will see a difference in the amount of cooperation and sharing in your meetings.

Barbara Glanz Biography

A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at and

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