When meetings, workshops and conference breakout sessions get shorter, there is a high risk that they will become "pour and bore" sessions, where as much information as possible is crammed into a short timeframe, leaving little opportunity for participant interaction. It is extremely important to devise strategies for presenting interactive content in bite-sized portions.
Here are 8 ways to instantly make meetings more interactive. Each idea takes 10 - 15 minutes.
- Kick off the meeting with a short, interactive session starter.
- Set out fluorescent index cards.
- Invite the participants to work at their tables to identify specific work related situations that are relevant to the content.
- Record one situation per card.
- Use the situations for role-plays, case studies, or brainstorming exercises or re-visit them toward the end of the session to identify solutions based on the content that has been presented.
What bugs you?
- Put stickers of bugs and insects on the index cards
- Ask participants to record work related situations that "bug" them
- Use content from the session to generate solutions.
- Invite participants to record and later in the meeting resolve situations at work that they find challenging.
- Use Learning Smorgasbords. Design all exercises so that they can be completed in 15 minutes.
- Give the group a quick question to discuss in pairs
Keep it brief, targeted, and focused on identifying the specific challenges they face on the job.
- Assign a short exercise for the group to complete in trios.
- Use a "Write your own" exercise ... (case study or role-play) in W5 format.
Exchange the cases or role-plays between tables.
- Give the group an opportunity to do some brainstorming.
The Cvent Event Blog has previously discussed a number of tools that can be useful for brainstorming including:
- Idea Chains
- The Bubble
- Mind Maps
- Ask participants to work in groups to create a Pinterest Board summarizing one specific aspect of the programme.
- Question Period
- Put oversized fluorescent index cards on each participant table.
- Ask participants to write their table numbers on one side of each card and, remaining questions about the content on the other side of the card. (One question per card).
- Ask each group to pass its "deck" of cards to the next table.
- Give the groups time to answer the questions. Repeat the process if there is time.
- Return the cards to the original table.
- Give the speaker or facilitator a chance to respond to any unanswered questions.
17 Tips for Designing Shorter Meetings Without Short-Changing Attendees, 4 Proven Formats for Short Presentations, 10 Tips to Make General Sessions More Interactive....Immediately, 12 Strategies to Engage Conference and Meeting Participants, and Set-up for Attendee Engagement.
Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee