woman lifting weights - pump up meeting energy


How do you know your meeting is in trouble? When participants sit motionless like overstuffed seat cushions. To avoid this unfortunate outcome, you need to activate your session by giving participants a chance to, well, participate.

Use these six activities to jump-start your next meeting:



The iconic TV game works just as well in your conference room. You can create a no-tech version on the wall or a bulletin board; just turn over pieces of paper. Or use PowerPoint.

How to: Choose a topic and then create clues in the form of answers. Have individuals respond in the form of a question; award points for each correct response. You could make it a free-for-all, or split participants into groups. Of course, give a prize to the winner!

What’s this? An “alternative method to brainstorming that tries to encourage a more uniform participation within a group,” according to the University of Central Oklahoma. Brainstorming is designed to generate lots of ideas in a short amount of time.

How to: If you have a large group, separate participants into groups of no more than six. Describe a problem that needs to be solved. Then:

  • Give each player an index card and have him or her write down an idea/solution
  • Ask each player to pass his/her index card to the right
  • Now, tell each player to write an additional idea motivated by the original one on the index card
  • Continue to pass cards, adding ideas until each participant gets his/her original card back
  • Write ideas on a whiteboard, creating a mindmap of similar ideas, and have a discussion

Poll Everywhere
This is just one of a number of applications that allow users to vote instantly on their smart phones on a given topic and see results in real time.

How to: Create several multiple-choice questions to use as an icebreaker. Or have participants vote on which topic they’d like to spend the most time on. Or create an open-ended poll, where you ask a question (like “Which superpower do you wish you had?”) and participants choose a one-word answer, then a word cloud is created.

When conducting a virtual meeting, this online collaboration tool allows users to access a whiteboard via the Internet.

How to: Participants will have visual access and be able to draw on the blank canvas, or upload documents to write over.


Low tech

Post-it® notes
No need to explain what these are: Post-it notes are colorful and fun. And giving participants something tactile to work with spurs creativity and creates energy.

How to: Ask participants to generate ideas on any topic. Or develop an idea by posting categories on the wall, and asking meeting attendees to generate questions, extensions or challenges.

Vote with your body
This technique works just like it seems: People move around the room to express different viewpoints. It’s most effective in large-group meetings and you need plenty of space.

How to: Ask participants to agree or disagree with a statement: Those who disagree move to the left side, agreers move to the right and those who are neutral stay in the middle.

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