I started thinking about this post last night in the middle of a pub quiz.
One of my local pubs runs a quiz every two weeks. There’s never a set quiz master, to keep it fresh quiz regulars take it in turns to write and ask the question which stops the quiz getting too stale.
For two years though, the format has always been the same – 20 rounds of 5 questions and never any deviation.
Personally I was getting a little bored (and I suppose frustrated) with this format, after all every other week for two years is a lot of quizzes!
It was my turn to chair the quiz last night so I decided that it was the right time for a format change. It was only the second quiz after Christmas and I knew there would be quite a few people there.
A couple of simple changes was all it took. I changed the format from 5×20 rounds to 10×10 rounds and instead of having a music round where the questions were asked verbally, I played intros to songs via an amplifier.
The reaction was amazing!
Every single person in the pub said how refreshing it was, that it seemed to run faster (even though it took the same amount of time as the “standard” quiz) and, most importantly, how much more they enjoyed it.
Why that reaction?
Because it was different.
So how does this relate to the world of business?
Take a weekly meeting for example, after the first couple of months you begin to dread it. You know what’s going to happen and when and who’s going to do what. People become bored and unfocussed, they don’t take any notice of what you’re saying and really just want to get the heck out of there.
What can you do about it?
Change the format!
- Always follow the same agenda? Juggle it around a little.
- Use verbal statements to get across an idea? Use mindmap software, a whiteboard/flipchart or a hand out to present it – people respond better to visual stimulus.
- Simply just finish each point and move on? Run a quick questions and answers session, user input helps keep people involved.
- Always hold it in the same meeting room? Make it more informal; try the canteen, someone’s office or even a local pub!
- Change the time – If it’s an afternoon meeting try swapping it to the morning every now and again to give a little variety.
- Provide a refreshments/toilet break – If your meeting’s going on for a couple of hours, people’s minds will wander when they become thirsty or need the toilet so provided them with a short comfort break.
And most importantly:
- Make it fun – stuffy meetings where people feel they can’t relax are a real attention killer.
With just two simple changes I re-enganged a group of people who had become jaded with the quiz, didn’t want to take part any more and only turned up because they thought they should. Now they’re raring to go and already asking me when my next quiz is (not for a while yet – it takes a lot of work!).
By changing a couple of small points you could see the immediate results – and it doesn’t have to cost you or your business a penny!
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