Your team is hungry for a change and why not? The productivity of your regular Wednesday-afternoon meeting has reached an all-time low with a boredom factor akin to Monday-night meatloaf.

To get your team cooking again, why not take your next meeting off site? Meeting in a new environment can be just what your team needs to spark their creativity, and hone their problem-solving and communication skills.

There are a variety of companies that will host your team's meeting and devise programs to help you develop new ideas and new ways of looking at the issues you deal with on a daily basis.

For example, you might introduce your team members to role playing and improvisational theatre. These roles, which are based on your work experiences, are used as a way of breaking people out of their shells and helping them open up to the point where they can share ideas more freely.

One company using this approach to group collaboration is Pacific Playback. They define their method as using "dynamic forms of improvisational theatre in which actors enact feelings, conflicts and experiences by listening to and mirroring group members." Their Web site even boasts a page of "testimonials" from companies who've tried the theatrics and benefited from them.

Workshops are another excellent way to bring new ideas to your group. They can be as short as an afternoon or extend to a three-day retreat like the ones offered by KnOwWhere, Inc. This company invites groups to come in and "stretch their mental muscles" while they tackle real-world challenges by playing games and even using toys.

Although some of the approaches these companies take may sound a little cheeky, the team-building and creative benefits are worth feeling a little silly in the beginning.

Sending a group off with a picture of a butterfly and telling them to figure out how their company compares to the insect or what they could learn from it can garner huge results. You may just discover that a new wing design could be the solution to that structural problem that's been haunting your latest project.


Read meeting dilemmas solved by the Meeting Guru.






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