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The best results come when the employees are having fun. The question is if you dare make it fun? Okay, I might be promising you a bit more than I can keep. Still I mean what I say. Playing makes everything a little bit more fun: Even a boring meeting. That’s why I’m always playing when I have meetings.  But you need to understand. Of course you need to go through the agenda and make results, men playing is a great way to get there.

An American study shows that Americans have 11 million meetings every day. That’s a lot! You might be going to a lot of meetings through a week yourself. And if you are like most people you don’t think meetings are that exciting. So how do we make those meetings a bit more fun?

Playing is not just for fun

I’ve made a point of playing when I’m having retrospectives. Because even though play seems like a waste of time it is actually serious. Just look at the Chinese children who have forgotten how to play. Playing is great at loosening up groups. It’s part of making a new team stick together, letting loose or brightening the atmosphere after a hard meeting. 

If you and your team are going to brainstorm new ideas, playing might be the way to start out the meeting. Though playing you get to know each other and break down barriers cross departments and titles. It’s especially important if you don’t work with everyone on a daily base. In other words playing helps start out the creative process.

About the author

Birte Laursen is a process consultant and agile coach.

She owns Birte Laursen Cunsultations. On her Retrospectives.dk she posts blog posts, podcasts and more about Scrum and agility. 

After a long meeting playing might loosen up the atmosphere before getting back to the office and – well – on to the next meeting. Here playing makes you leave the meeting with a smile, stretch the legs and laugh a bit after having sit down for an hour or two.

If you’re thinking I’m crazy – that playing doesn’t work. That’s okay.  For most people it’s a big change and the colleges might be a bit skeptic in the beginning, but try anyway. I’ve gathered a bit of inspiration for fun games to start out with. I promise playing will be a part of your meetings from here on.

Inspiration for a game

Get back your name

Everyone walks around. When one participant meets another they shake their hands and present themselves with their first name. After this they exchange names. Both participants walk on to someone and present themselves with their new name. This continues until they get back their own name.  

If someone forgets their name they have to raise their hand and the game starts over from the beginning. 

Count to 3

I love the game of counting to 3! Stand in front of each other in pairs and start by counting 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2 and so on.

Then change 1 to “Bye” so counting will go “Bye”, 2, 3, “Bye”, 2, 3 and so on. Continue a bit and then change out 2 for “Chiao”. Now counting will go “Bye”, “Chiao”, 3, “Bye”, “Chiao”, 3 and so on. End out by changing out 3 with “Have a good day”. Now counting will go “Bye”, “Chiao”, “Have a good day” and so on. 

You might want to add gestures: A wave when saying “Bye”, a jump when saying “Chiao” and a swirl when saying “Have a good day”. It only makes it more fun. 

Wave in a circle

My other game is to make a wave in a circle- Everyone gathers in circle – standing up. You make a wave – like in a stadium.

Afterwards you might want to do something else instead of lifting the arms. Maybe you could make a kicking wave, a swirling wave or a clapping wave. 

Guess my name

Everyone writes a name on a note. It can be your own name or a name of someone everyone in the room knows of – like the Queen of England or Mickey Mouse.

Everyone gets a note and sticks it to their forehead. You are not supposed to know the name on your forehead. 

Walk around for 3 minutes asking each other questions and only answering “Yes” or “No”. 

When time is up – guess which name is on your note. 

Make up your own game

 If you want you can make your own game. You might know some fun ones from when you were a kid or have children of your own and see them play. 

When you make up a new game think of the following: 

Participant must be active. Stand up and walk around.

Avoid making the participants touch – that’s quite a lot for most. Shaking hands are fine though. 

The game must be under 5 minutes. 

What’s your ffavourite game? 

If you have a game that always works please tell us in the comment section. We will take a look at all the good games so it will be more used in working life.