Warm-up exercises. People are seldom neutral about them. You may love them and find them the most enjoyable aspects of meetings. Or you may recognize their usefulness, but skip them when your agenda grows tight. Or, because you endured silly ones like, 'What animal did your kindergarten teacher look like?' you may arrive late to avoid them This article reviews the value of warm-up exercises and offers you best practices to help you design your openers to help your group achieve its meeting goals.
Warm-up exercises are useful for
And groups who focus do more. But the ultimate reason to include warm-up exercises is because they build trust. Trust creates speed. Trust, also, creates a willingness to take risks that improve group decision-making. Well-designed openers act like speed dating; they allow you to initiate relationships with a lot of people. Trust is more difficult to build in groups than one-on-one, because that's how you create it, one person at a time. When 20 new people gather, each person needs to build 20 new relationships. Warm-up exercises lay the groundwork for current and future trust. With trust, relationships even grow under pressure; innovation is possible and solid decisions result. When trust exists, you can discuss sensitive materials, i.e., the grenade hiding in your garage, the elephant in the living room or the Holy Grail in your front pocket.
Here are nine tips to design openers that advance your meeting's goals:
At your meetings, use your openers to build your team, create innovative solutions, speed up your work and to achieve your goals.
Karen Eber Davis is a consultant, strategist, group facilitator and writer. As president of Karen Eber Davis Consulting, she draws on her full set of skills to help organizations plan and fund their way to excellence. Her firm has attracted such clients as the Red Cross, Circus Sarasota, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Suncoast Workforce Development Board, the Englewood Water District, Dreams are Free and more than 100 local, regional and national organizations. Her consulting work is respected for its innovation, enthusiasm and energy as well as its practical understanding of the spirit and psychology of nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit her website at www.kedconsult.com