How to inject energy into your events…
Recently we were asked what tools we could use when facilitating a behavioural and cultural change event, in order to inject energy and help creativity.
It’s funny how when you get asked these questions the mind often goes blank: the tools that are second-nature to us have become so ingrained in our work that we don’t really think about them anymore.
Yet when we started sharing these tools with the client and discussing as colleagues the different tools we used, we all benefited and all picked up new ideas too!
So here is that insight shared with you too: ideas for injecting energy into a group, breaking people out of ‘stuck’ thinking and getting more creative….
Visualisation – this is about painting the picture of what it would feel and look like to have something change. We ask the question, “if some miracle happened overnight and you came to work tomorrow and this had already changed, what would be the first sign to you that things were different? What would you see / hear / feel? What else?”
What will it not be? With our naturally critical brains, we often find it easier to say what we do not want than to talk about what we do want.
Even in a personal example of preparing for a difficult conversation or presentation, we might think to ourselves, “I don’t want to come across like a nasty person,” or “I don’t want them to think I’m not an expert.” Getting people to say out loud what they do not want can be a great starting point for then switching things around and asking, “if that’s what you want to avoid, what would you want instead?” or “what would help you avoid that outcome you do not want?”
Improvisation – to break people out of logical and analytical problem-solving mode and move them into a more creative space, improvisation is a great tool. Using the “yes, and” game means taking something simple like, “what could we do for our next team social?” and asking people to apply “yes, and…” to every idea.
Someone might start with, “we could have it at the pub,” and the next person could say, “yes, and we could invite Beyonce to sing there,” on to, “yes, and we could have a space for people who don’t like loud music to sit and relax,” followed by, “yes, and we could put the pub on a space rocket and fly to the moon…”
Once we’ve played with that, we can then apply the same concept to ideas raised for the specific issue at hand, encouraging more building on ideas than critiquing.
List 50 ideas – when we are asked to come up with 5 ideas, we often get stuck at 3.
When we are asked to come up with 50 ideas, we might get stuck at 20 or 30, so this is a simple tool to get people thinking fast and throwing out as many ideas as possible. In an attempt to get more ideas out, people come up with more and more crazy ideas, which may not be practical at all, but they might spark inspiration for something that is practical.
Getting a high volume of ideas out without judgement can lead to us spotting the potential in a whacky idea and seeing how that might work.
Switch seats – just getting people up and moving often provides a different perspective, so give yourself permission to make people that little bit uncomfortable and move them around. You could also add in a specific perspective for this by say having an empty chair in the room that is the “customer’s chair” – or key stakeholder, shareholder etc.
Ask someone to sit in that chair and share their perspective, as this can drastically change the direction of the conversation.
Get outside – if it’s feasible in your venue and given the weather, ask people to discuss the idea / issue in pairs on a walk outside. The fresh air, exercise and different perspective will often raise very different ideas that can be brought back into the room and shared for consideration.