Engagement enshmagement – yes I made up that second word. But we do all get tired of buzz words, and engagement is a buzz word right now. I was recently asked to write a short article about my expertise related to meeting planning. All I could think of was; PLEASE, don’t let me be bored again. And that led to my area of expertise, engagement; using creativity, story and music to engage attendees at a meeting on a high, visceral level. Visceral means relating to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect. Now I don’t have anything against intellect, but intellect needs emotion to connect. I recently attended a large convention at which the planning committee spent a lot of time broadcasting that this time things would be different. That they were seeking out-of-the-box presenters to engage attendees in new ways. Guess what? The planning committee didn’t have the courage of their convictions and the presenters at the convention were mostly quite conventional.
Our musical team building programs work because music invites us in on a visceral level. When the music starts playing our emotions are activated in a personal way that engages us. We stop observing and we start participating. It happens naturally and that’s why people say the experience is fun. Surprise, surprise; team building can be fun and you don’t have to be made to feel dumb. It works when we’re all engaged, first as individuals and then as a larger group.
So back to the point of the article I was asked to write – Meeting planners need to walk the walk on engagement. Instead of a speaker in the front of the room, how about round tables each led by someone at every table and not by a ‘subject matter’ expert.
Here’s an exercise you can try at your next meeting
- Ask someone at your table to tell their story about a meeting they planned that didn’t go as planned.
- In other words, to share a personal story about an event that failed, or didn’t perform as expected.
That’s it your done – you’ve started some real team building
- I say you’re done because everything else will happen naturally.
- Other people at the table will empathize and join the conversation sharing not only their personal stories about events that derailed, but also offering solutions based on personal experience.
- Now you have active conversation, brainstorming, sharing of best practices and solutions, hmmm – sounds like an engaged meeting.
- Try the activity above at your next meeting. It’s simple and it works.
If you’ve read this far, here’s a reward for you. Sort of like the prize you might win at a team building event. This one’s just for participating. You can click here and download my eBook, Everyday Team Building – DIY. The eBook has activities you can use to engage and interact to make your next meeting a visceral meeting!