Some meetings are incredible.
Some meetings… just aren’t incredible.
I’ve never heard someone say “I wish I was in more meetings!” Because let’s face it, there are already too many meetings. A recent study showed that professionals attend an average of 61.8 meetings a month! That’s more than two, every single day!
Let’s change the script and increase creativity in meetings. Here are my 6 tricks to help you along.
1. Tithe The Time: Silence Before Speaking
In today’s day, we can’t escape noise. From Spotify’s unlimited library, to the 24-hour news cycle, there’s always something vying for our attention. That doesn’t even factor in the social media rat-race. All this proves that our people need more silence. Let the brain rest and catch up, so we show up focused and ready to be creative.
Try this in your next meeting: Instead of doing, don’t do anything for just a few minutes.
Tithe your time by taking 10% of the meeting and up front just asking everyone to sit (without their devices) and let them become fully present. Just because they’re present in physical form, doesn’t mean they’re present in mental form. At first it may feel weird, but in time, doing nothing allows people to silence all the other noise in their life and get to the meeting.
2. Make Up a Story (About Your Neighbor)
Before you walk into the next creative meeting, start off the meeting by asking everyone make up a story about the person to their left (or right). This will get everyone thinking outside the box and warming up their imagination.
Here’s why this works: when we see the world from someone else’s shoes, we see something from a different perspective. A different perspective unlocks different paths forward creatively. Seeing a problem, or situation from a new perspective, trains our minds to avoid being stuck with one idea or one solution.
Get everyone dreaming and seeing from someone else’ view. Make up a story, and increase the creativity in your next meeting.
3. Remove the Parameters/Limits
Sometimes boundaries are good; sometimes they aren’t. Our friend Nick Rivero, Experience Director at SALT, shared at SALT17 that his greatest tool in increasing creativity with his own team is to remove the limitations of a project or situation.
When we limit possibilities, we limit creativity.
Freedom of expression and ideation opens up the brain in a way that allows more creativity. People aren’t tied down by do’s and don’ts. Remove the lid on the next idea you want to brainstorm with your team and help them realize there is never a bad idea. Even if an idea isn’t feasible, it always sparks more ideas.
4. Encourage Everyone to Write/Engage
One of my biggest weaknesses in leading creative meetings is being the only one to write anything on the board. In doing so, I am choosing efficiency over effectiveness. Because when everyone stays still, no one gets the blood flowing, and ideas churning. This study shows that when blood flows more regularly, our body gets more oxygen, which translates to more energy and clearer processing of more ideas.
Getting out of your chair to write something on the board, allows blood to flow more rapidly in your body. By doing this, the body naturally gives itself an energy boost, and will increase the creative muscles.
Further, it gives more people validity to their ideas, and allows them to gain a sense of belonging in the meeting. Instead of just having bystanders, you now have participants. People will want to be asked to write their idea on the board.
5. Change the Atmosphere
I’ll never forget doing a creative meeting at LifeWay Christian Bookstore’s main headquarters. I walked in to the lobby, only to find myself surrounded by dark purple paint on the walls and long narrow hallway without windows. I worried that the creative meeting I was about to step into would lack the sort of impact they were going with. To my relief the leader of the meeting met me and let me know we were going across the street to a coffee shop. They had rented the entire store out, and would be our new atmosphere for this meeting.
Of course my curiosity got the best of me, and I asked “why aren’t we meeting in a conference room?” And her response floored me:
“Because our space won’t garner great ideas.”
She knew that a new space, would generate new ideas. If you’re stuck with the same old ideas, then it may be connected to the fact that your meetings are at the same old place.
Atmosphere is so crucial to the creative process. Our brains leverage all of our senses to garner a sense of creativity. Add new music, change the location, increase the natural light, or simply provide a new food/taste and you may see creativity increase!
6. Introduce a Wall
Sometimes I find myself in meetings where the goal is to refine an idea previously discussed. If I’ve got an idea, but it’s not quite there, I’ll throw a curve ball or put in place a new obstacle to see if the team see’s a new (and different) path forward.
By implementing a new wall into the equation, it forces people to see the problem with a new set of parameters similar to how the “make up a story” technique would accomplish. It almost “resets” the creative brainstorming process, and often will lead to new outcomes. New outcomes offer new opportunities and possibilities. This leads to greater creativity in your meetings
You’ll find that returning to the other idea, after adding an obstacle will be easier because now the barrier isn’t in place and you’ve been able to remove preconceived notions about the environment or project.
Walls in creative meetings act as tentative vacations for the mind. They’ll come back rested and ready to return.
I hope this helps you as you embark on increasing creativity in yoru next meeting. Want to step up the creative process in an even greater way? Join us at SALT Conference and kick-start the creativity within your team. Click here for more information.