Organizational Development Consultant and Leadership Coach

20 Techniques to Improve Meeting Productivity: #16 Movement

February 23, 2014

“What other techniques can I use to keep people alert and involved in our meetings?”

16. Movement

What Is Movement?

Movement is another technique designed to keep energy high and attention focused. Any purposeful Movement can reenergize your group while at the same time supporting your meeting objectives.

When to Use Movement

  •  When your meetings last more than a few hours
  •  When you want to encourage participants to talk with new people
  •  When you anticipate that the group’s energy level will deteriorate, such as after lunch
  •  When the group appears to be physically uncomfortable

How to Use Movement

1. Periodically encourage participants to sit in different places, next to different people. These changes can take place after Breaks and are especially important if your meeting lasts through both the morning and afternoon.

OPTION: For small group discussions, have people consistently move to different parts of the room so that they interact with different people. This tends to be mentally stimulating and discourages the formation of cliques and alliances. This Movement also informally builds teamwork. This is most commonly done in one of two ways:

a. Create predetermined discussion groups. Cluster participants with the maximum diversity of position, level within the organization, longevity on the job, and general perspective. Plan these groups, perhaps with the help of other participants, before the meeting.

b. Create subgroups by asking participants to count off. See Small Groups, technique 20, for details.

2. Use a light ball during round-robin exercises to keep the group active.

a. Explain the procedure. For example: “The person who has the ball is the one who speaks. When that person is done speaking, he or she will throw the ball to someone else, anyone he or she chooses who has not yet spoken. Make sure that the ball gets around to everyone, thus giving everyone a chance to speak.”

b. Arbitrarily toss the ball to someone, asking that person to start. If your ball happens to be physically nearer someone else, ask that person to choose who should start by throwing the ball to him or her. Unless you are an outside facilitator, you should also speak on the subject.

c. When everyone has spoken, summarize and move on with your agenda.

3. Ask participants to physically move to cluster around wall charts used during specific components of your agenda.


Movement is a technique for keeping energy high as well as assuring that participants talk with as many other participants as possible during the meeting.

1. Encourage participants to sit in different parts of the room and to work with different people in small groups.

2. Use a light ball as a group discussion tool.

3. Ask participants to physically move to cluster around wall charts used during specific components of your agenda.


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