How to make your meetings more productive and spur creativity

“Are your meetings often dull and lacking the energy they need to be more productive? This is a common problem in many workplaces as it can be hard to get your team to come up with new ideas every time. Many people often don’t participate in the meetings and they are carried by a select few. This makes the meetings drag and they might even become counter-productive, but if you’re looking for a way to make your meetings more interesting and engaging then we have some tips for you to help spur your colleagues’ creativity.
Ask for the worst idea
Although this might seem an unusual method, it can actually be more productive. It follows the same principle that there are no bad ideas and can work really well to spark inspiration. This can be a good way to open the meeting as it gets people to come up with more ridiculous and out there ideas. It may also encourage the people who are often silent in meetings.Although you may not be able to use all of these ideas and many will be dismissed afterwards, it can often relax the mood and get everyone involved. Those too scared or reluctant to come forward normally, will see that even “bad” ideas can turn out to be good, as people develop and build on the ideas suggested by others.
Involve the whole team
It can be a common occurrence in meetings that the same person is often contributing each time. This leads to the non-contributers switching off. Maybe they even switched off before they entered the room, knowing that it was just another meeting. To get people involved with the conversation, one good tip is to ask people to build on what others have said or at least say why they like the idea. By doing this you can get fully thought out ideas and develop a plan of action. Getting people to join in and contribute in this way can even get them thinking and coming up with other new ideas.
Forget brainstorming
One thing that can actually hinder creativity in a meeting is by holding open brainstorming sessions. This is something that many companies often do as a matter of course, without realising that it isn’t always the most productive way to conduct a meeting. This is because the free thinking approach often leaves things too open and there is not a clear goal you are working towards. With a more focused approach, it narrows down what people are thinking about so they are more focused on the task at hand. You can still set up a brainstorming session but look to define clear goals from the start.
Showcase ideas
Having the ideas on display can be another important factor when it comes to making meetings more productive. Using a whiteboard or something similar to jot down the ideas provides a visual aid for your staff. This can offer inspiration and people may build off the ideas that are written down in front of them. If you leave the main ideas or goals on the board until the next meeting, this also provides a way for you to assess the progress you have made.
Choosing the right furniture
Even things such as a change in furniture can have a big impact on the success and creativity in your meetings. If you have a table that is too small or you often have people sitting behind one another, then this can be counter-productive to a successful meeting. Making sure that your meeting table is large enough to seat everyone is essential, but it is also ideal to make sure the speaker is in clear sight of everyone too. If you are still having issues with creativity in your meetings then you might want to consider holding them in a breakout area. This can make the atmosphere more relaxed and might encourage people to contribute to the meeting. There are all kinds of soft seating that can make it the perfect atmosphere.”