Recently I made a research in order to find tricks which can help me facilitate meetings. All those tricks should be used on top of default meeting facilitating techniques like setting timebox, writing the clear agenda or summarizing the meeting at the end.
Rules of this trick are simple. The only one allowed to say something is the one with the token (a ball, a microphone or any other item). This trick forces all people to focus on a discussion, but it also can support “meetings about nothing” when mostly one person is talking.
Parking for ideas
Every time when new offtopic popes in just put it on a previously prepared flipchart. It will remain visible for everybody and will be noted in the finishing note of the meeting. This will help all participants to not lose focus and to only discuss the things that are needed.
It helps when you are working with a bigger group. Just announce a couple of the hand signals on the beginning of the meeting. This will shorten a feedback loop and improve the meeting speed. Instead of the hands, users can use different colors of post-its.
This can be the box for the phones or for any other device that distracts users. If they can’t get their eyes away from a phone screen just make a deal with them. Put all the phones into the box and every single time, when somebody takes it from inside he/she pays $10 for later fun.
This can be used in very various situations and scenarios, but basically, this is a way of picking a topic or picking a common statement or finding point of interest. Let’s say that we are making a meeting of the board members and don’t know what we should discuss first. Let everyone note down all topics that he/she would like to mention. Later give every one of them 10 poker chips saying that you will discuss topics starting from the one with most poker chips on it. Let them use their negotiating skills!
Voting on mood
Last but not least trick, for now, is feedback gathering method. Just give poker chip for everyone entering the meeting and on exit demand them to put those chips in one of the two boxes. Previously type on these boxed sentences: “I loved I’ve been here” or “I don’t see value in doing this again”.