Ideas: Find Ways To Jazz Up Your Meetings

This idea is excerpted from  Barbara’s book “CARE Packages for the Workplace”,  (McGraw-Hill, 1996).

The Idea:

Most organizations are plagued with long, tedious meetings.  Get your creative juices going to come up with some fun ways to add sparkle to otherwise boring get-togethers.

The Idea In Action:

Peggy Moczul of the Department of Civil Service in the State of Michigan tells about what she and a colleague did to liven up their meetings:

Paul Perla and I were asked to facilitate a session for a committee that was evaluating three contract proposals.  Each of the eight committee members were asked to vote “yes” or”no”  on 30 evaluation questions for each of the three proposals, constituting 90 votes from each member. The meeting was scheduled for all day and was anticipated to be less than exciting!

As facilitators, Paul and I decided to make the meeting as interesting and active as possible. We developed a voting tool we hoped would hook people’s interest and help speed the voting process.  We went to the party store and purchased red, green, and yellow plastic luncheon plates.  We then stuck the red and green plates together and glued a tongue depressor between the two plates as a handle.  When they arrived at the meeting, committee members were asked to hold up the green plate for a “yes” vote and the red plate to vote “no.”  We even gave them a yellow plate to flash if they had a question prior to voting.

The committee members loved the creativity, and people could hardly wait to vote!  The day-long meeting was completed in four hours.

Ron McKinley, the Vice President of Human Resources for APAC in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, utilizes participative meeting concepts in his weekly staff meetings.  As the “person in charge,” he does not run the meetings but uses the experience as a team building exercise for his staff.  Every week the positions change, and these positions are voluntary so that everyone gets to be everything!  These are the positions to be filled for each meeting:

LEADER — This person runs the meeting, gathers agenda items, and assigns a time to each. He/she may choose where and how the meeting will occur.  One week they may meet outside; another they might all sit on the floor; and another time the leader may choose to have them all wear party hats or even stand up, just to keep them surprised!

FACILITATOR — This person is in charge of the process, making sure that the group stays on the subject and that all have a chance to speak.

SCRIBE — This member takes notes and produces the minutes.  (Ron told me that this was his job for next week’s meeting.)

MATH PERSON — This person is asked to bring a calculator, and whenever statistics or figures are needed, he/she will do the required math.

FOOD PERSON — This staff member brings some kind of treat to the meetings.

Ron’s meetings are fun because there are weekly surprises, the staff is encouraged to be creative which impacts their other work, and everyone participates in all the roles, so there is a genuine feeling of equality.  In fact, several of his staffers have told me that they now ENJOY meetings!

Tips For Implementation:

Challenge yourself to try something new and creative each time you are in charge of a meeting. If you surprise participants, they will actually look forward to coming to your meetings, and you will be surprised at how much more work you will get accomplished.

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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