Most adult’s attention levels start to diminish after just twenty minutes of passive listening and their minds begin to wander. Since the average meeting lasts longer than twenty minutes how much content is actually being absorbed? What steps can a presenter take to keep their audience interested and increase retention levels? The key is to get your audience involved.
Interact with your audience
Toss a ball out and get the catcher to answer a topic related question or provide input on a subject. For instance for a sales meeting you could toss the ball out asking the catcher to relay strategies they’ve personally used to increase customer loyalty or if you’re looking for a discussion prompter the catcher could express the biggest customer challenges they’re facing. Keep the action flowing, get the catcher to then toss the ball to another participant in the room. This strategy gets participants actively involved and boosts creative energy.
Take 5-15 minute breaks every 20-40 minutes and get everyone up!
Make partners or teams and challenge which team can toss a ball back and forth the longest without dropping. Or use a larger lightweight ball and challenge which team can keep the ball in the air the longest without any team member hitting the ball more than once. Use a stopwatch and have the next team try and beat the best time.
Have Target Practice! Set-up empty water bottles as targets and challenge who can knock the most down in one shot. Use large rubber bands, a Marshmallow Shooter or maybe a Flingshot Monkey as the weapon.
Hand out toysIncrease alertness and creative thinking by giving participants small items they can play with while listening. Active hands make active minds. Molding putty or squishy stress balls are perfect for keeping hands busy while not being too distracting and make great take-home treats at the end of the day.
Incorporate the toy into the topicUse the hand out toys to reinforce the goal of the meeting. For example, at the end of the meeting ask participants to sum up one idea or concept they found most valuable and to illustrate it by molding something from the putty or creating a name for their stress ball using letters that spell out their point.
The point they found most valuable was “listen to your customers needs”.
If they have putty they could mold an ear to represent listening.
If they have a stress ball they could name it “Cail” for Customers Appreciate Interested Listening.
It is very entertaining and sometimes enlightening to listen to everyone’s points and it can give valuable reinforcement and insight into the purpose of the meeting.
Try utilizing some of these suggestions and prevent your next meeting from falling into the unsuccessful meeting wasteland!
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