March 10, 2010

Tips For Engaging Meeting Attendees

I just picked up an interesting new book, Death by Meetings: A Leadership Fable About Solving the Most Painful Process in Business by Patrick M. Lencioni, and if that title doesn’t give you an accurate picture of how most people tend to view meetings, than I don’t know what would. What can we as meeting organizers do to create meetings that our attendees will enjoy participating in rather than dreading each time they see a meeting notice?

Here’s some simple tips for engaging your meeting attendees and creating dynamic learning environments:
· Set your meeting space up using audience centered seating principles that focus on attendee comfort and ease of interaction. Paul O. Radde, PhD, has an excellent book, Seating Matters: State of the Art Seating Matters that explains this principle in detail and provides excellent diagrams you can provide to set-up crews. You can purchase the book through
· Engage all the audience’s senses: Use different colored linens, themed props, toys, scents, etc. to promote the atmosphere you want to create.
· Create visual interest by using colored paper for handouts.
· Enhance learning by using black, blue, green or purple for text on flip charts, alternating colors for contrast and highlighting with orange, red or pink
· Personalize name tags to encourage conversation by adding personal information, such as first concert attended, favorite childhood game, subject area I need help with, subject area I’m an expert in.
· Pump up the Volume! Use walk in and walk out music to set the tone for the meeting, this also helps promote group movement which helps when transitioning between sessions
· Keep attendees focused: Use a “power clap” to increase energy level in the room, refocus attendees and get attendees on the same wavelength. Take short energizing breaks during long presentations with short physical activity, such as stretching, doing the wave, shouting out favorite movie titles, etc.
· Make Sure Everyone is on the Same Track: Use cell phone text polling to collect audience feedback; for low cost audience polling check out
· Twitter: Assign your event a hash tag and encourage users to twitter about their experience while in the sessions. Use a twitter fountain for Q&A to capture and display questions from the audience during the session.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this, Paula. I love this book, and all titles by Patrick Lencioni. -Lisa Kraus