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September 24, 2008

News & Opinion: Got a meeting this morning?

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 1:57 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Quick Meeting Openers for Busy Managers: More than 50 Icebreakers, Energizers, and Other Creative Activities That Get Results by Brian Cole Miller is an easy book to consult when you want to kick off a group meeting in a fun way.
Here are a few creative activities to get the group started:


Quotes
This is...

> A meeting starter in which participants share their favorite quotes with the group.
Use it to...
> Help the group warm up as well as get to know each other better.
Best group size...
> Up to about 20.
Materials you'll need...
> No materials are necessary for this activity.
Here's how...
1. Before the meeting, tell participants to bring their favorite quote (either written down or memorized).
2. In the meeting, have participants share their quote and then explain why it is important to them.
For example...
> "'To thine own self be true' is my favorite quote. When I was in my early 20s I realized that I was trying to be what others expected or wanted of me. I wasn't happy. When I came to terms with who I am, and then lived true to that, I found great joy as well as inner peace."
Tips for success...
> You go first to demonstrate how much detail you want them to go into. It doesn't have to be an actual quote, it could be a "saying" or "words to live by."
Try these variations...
> Make this more difficult by not giving participants advance warning. Allow them to paraphrase their favorite quote if they can't remember it word for word.
> Rather than a quote, have participants share their favorite saying or lesson learned from their parents while growing up.
> Divide larger groups up into smaller teams of 8 to 20 members to use this activity.

Map It
This is...
> An activity in which participants form a human map based on where they live.
Use it to...
> Help groups visualize their proximity to each other outside of work.
Best group size...
> Unlimited.
Materials you'll need...
> No materials are necessary for this activity.
Here's how...
1. Gather the group in a larger, open space.
2. Have participants create a map by standing relative to one another based on where their homes are.
Tips for success...
> Place something in the middle of the space to represent where they are now. All points should be relative to that point.
> Beyond that, don't help or guide anyone; let the group figure it all out. Don't be surprised if someone else steps up and starts to lead, though.
Try these variations...
> Have participants map where they were born, where they last went on vacation, where they plan to retire, or where their favorite restaurant is.
> Have participants map where their work locations are. Afterward, discuss what impact geographic diversity has on the work they are about to do, if any.

Find more lively activities in Quick Meeting Openers for Busy Managers: More than 50 Icebreakers, Energizers, and Other Creative Activities That Get Result.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.