Every good meeting starts with an interactive activity.
Why? Because people need their focus captured so they can refocus it on the matter at hand.
But, why have a good meeting when you can have a great one?
Those first moments need not be wasted playing games or doing embarrassing activities.
Instead, you can use those first few minutes to strengthen your group.
Rather than starting with an 'icebreaker' start with a 'heartwarmer'.
Let's call them "startwarmers"
Here's what I mean...
Community comes through shared story.
We are created by the communities in which we participate. Therefore, to strengthen a community the people in that community need to share their stories.
To get to know someone, you need to learn about their communities - from big to small: National, religious, sport/clubs, workplace, extended family, immediate family, partner, internal (me, myself and I).
Principle: When developing a startwarmer, use a positive approach. Teaching a value by focusing on the negative reinforces the negative. Find the positive angle and promote growth by focusing on the positive value.
1. Choose what value you want to explore, and formulate a one sentence 'punchline'
2. Decide which community level (big to small list above) is best to probe for this value
3. Frame a question that would get yourself talking
4. Create or find a short intro story/joke on the theme (personal is best)
1. Tell a brief introductory story/joke introducing the 'startwarmer' question.
2. Break big group into small groups and discuss question
3. Regroup, ask for highlights from groups
4. Wrap up with your one sentence 'punchline' for the activity
Example value & questions:
Classroom: What is the most honest thing a student has said to you?
Family: What's the best thing your family has done together in the past month?
Open Community: What is the most meaningful act of compassion you've ever witnessed?
Immediate family: What is the bravest thing one of your children (or siblings) has done?
Personal: Tell a story about something silly you did that actually made things better.