Secrets of Spicier Meetings

Creativity taps into past experiences, the information you’ve learned, and a multitude of different areas in your brain. Innovation requires a departure from existing solutions to come up with new ideas by drawing broadly from your knowledge.

Leaders who value creativity foster a safe collaborative space where unusual ideas are celebrated and where creativity is nurtured. When facilitating meetings where you are seeking solutions or innovation, there are ways to ensure that the participants can bring their creative best.

  1. Intentional Icebreakers. Instead of an icebreaker like “What are you doing this summer,” try priming the atmosphere with a more relevant question. If you want to develop a great app, have people start the meeting by sharing what their favorite apps are and why. If you’re seeking to create a better customer experience, ask for the most memorable customer service interaction they’ve had in the last 6 months.
  1. Make it Matter. The way a meeting starts sets the tone for the whole session, so don’t open with the latest issues, complaints and problems. Instead, open with a funny video, or ask each attendee to briefly share something positive. Try “Share something interesting you’ve learned since the last meeting,” “Tell us about a person who has helped you in the last week,” or “Share one thing you’ve accomplished this week that’s made you feel proud.”
  1. Incorporate Vibrant Visuals. Research shows that 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual and our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Strong and memorable visuals get everyone on the same page, picturing the big ideas. Use color (markers, sticky notes, etc) to keep things engaging and interesting.
  1. Set Your State. A relaxed brain is a creative brain. How do you get into that relaxed brain state on demand? Use a state-shifting exercise that brings in moments of play and allows you and your team to laugh and relax. This helps to unlock the parts of your brain that otherwise sit idle throughout the day. Be intentional about the state of the brains participating in the meeting. Most people are distracted by their electronics and their endless list of things to accomplish. Incorporating a brain-focusing question (what is preventing you from being fully present) or an exercise (close your eyes and breathe for 60 seconds) will ensure that everyone is more present and participating with their whole brain.
  1. Challenge Close. Set a specific challenge at the end that your team can consider, discuss and deliberate in their own time. That way they’ll come to your next meeting prepared and inspired.

What other ways have you found helpful in creating “Spicy” meetings that engage the brain? Sprinkle on some spice and cook up greater levels of creativity.

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