Is your organization stressed by apathy? Is your organization missing anything that resembles fun? Or does your organization just need to shake things up. Well – Liven-up! Yes, every organization needs to liven-up.
Whether you have a dozen members or thousands you can always do a little more to liven-up the organization. Activities and energizers may be your answer. They can be used one-on-one or with the masses. The opportunities are endless and only you know the best place to start. So stop complaining and focusing on your challenges. Instead, start livening-up with activities and energizers. Here are a variety of ways you can liven-up your organization to help meet some common challenges.
Reinforce Member Benefits
Every organization only grows by growing its members. The more connected you feel to the organization, the more committed you are to the organization. This exercise is an excellent way to reinforce why people are members. Ask each person (team) to list personal highlights of being a member(s). Have each member (team) pick the top two highlights after they’ve created a lengthy list. Each member (team) then shares their top two highlights with everyone. This quick activity reinforces member benefits.
Here is a great way to honor people who have done some extra special things that may go unnoticed. Have an individual quietly tie balloons on the chairs of the people you want to honor. Let the balloons simply float above these people for a while. Later share with all of the attendees what the individuals in the chairs with balloons did to help the organization.
Encourage People to Listen
Create an environment for people to easily listen and participate. When you’re leading an event ask attendees to turn their torsos toward you. People will pay more attention to you and what you are saying if they are facing you. This also gives people permission to make some noise if they have to move their chairs and bodies to a more comfortable position.
At every meeting you should mix-up the seating assignment or arrangement. People often complain about cliques or whisper groups. Eliminate cliques and whisper groups before they form. Have individuals sit by someone different at every meeting. You can also use a variety of ways to “assign” seating at every meeting – i.e. alphabetically or term of membership. This is an excellent way to proactively deal with a potential challenge. It’s also a great way to have people meet and build fellowship among the members.
Strengthen Unity with Fellowship
People get to know each other better when they work together. Here are three easy ways to create pairs or teams.
- Candy – Have each attendee pick a candy. People with the same candies are pairs or form a team. Be cautious to purchase only enough candies to form the size of teams you want.
- Playing Cards – Have each attendee pick a playing card. All attendees with the same number (9, 10, J, Q, K, A) or suit (heart, diamond, club, spade) are team members.
- Taco Ingredients – Each attendee receives a piece of paper with a taco ingredient printed on it – meat, shell, sour cream, cheese, salsa, onion, lettuce , and tomato . Teams are formed when they make a taco with different ingredients.
Share Leadership Responsibilities
Use team leaders to build cohesion and share responsibility. Here are two easy ways to select team leaders.
Have all team members close their eyes, raise their right hand, point to the sky and on the count of three point to the person they want to be their team leader. People always chuckle when they open their eyes and see the person with the most fingers pointed at them is the team leader.
Designate the team leader as the person with the most feet in their home. For example, a human has two feet and a cat has four. Again, this is a fun way to share some more personal information.
- Maintain Control – Use some fun regrouping activity after you’ve given the group an opportunity to discuss an issue. Ask members to clap. When it is rather noisy and you want to get attention ask attendees to “Clap once if you can hear me. (clap) Clap twice if you can hear me. (clap, clap) Clap three times if you can hear me. (clap, clap, clap)” This is a simple way to regain attention and you don’t look like you’re begging for their attention. You can also blow a fun whistle. It’s a simple way to get people’s attention. These subtle, fun ways to quiet a group are excellent strategies to maintain control. Planning for ways to regain attention puts you in the best place for a smooth event.
- Explore Diversity – Ask attendees in pairs or teams to list the differences between them. The goal is to find the most differences possible. Call time and ask pairs or teams to tally up the number of differences listed. Invite them to share the differences they listed and give a prize to the groups with the longest list.
Show the Importance of Communication
The telephone activity is a classic example of a communication blunder and an excellent reference to discuss an organization’s communication challenges. One member of each team receives a prepared message from the facilitator. Team members may whisper the message to the next person in their circle but the recipient may not ask questions. The last person to receive the message stands after the message has traveled throughout the circle. Each of the standing members is asked to share the message they heard.
Create Camaraderie and Competition
Ask teams to create a Quick List of different topics at different times throughout an event. Possible topics are Disney Characters, Classic Movies, Musical Instruments, Baseball Teams or Famous Actors. The team or attendee with the largest list wins a prize.
Activities and energizers are not necessarily long, structured experiences. They can last a few minutes or a few hours. People usually don’t realize why a meeting was enjoyable, but they know the difference between a successful and unsuccessful event. The true magic of activities and energizers is the extra energy they create. Activities and energizers are often the key to subtly educating members. Once you start using activities and energizers you’ll see the special magic they create. So go ahead – liven-up!
Patty Hendrickson, Certified Speaking Professional works with organizations that want to grow leaders and with people who want more out of life. For information about her interactive and enthusiastic programs and leadership resources visit www.PattyHendrickson.com.
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