Tag Archives: Icebreaker

The Stupidest Things Ever Experienced In Business Meetings


This article is a funny look at awful management practices, techniques, gimmicks, and the misuse of technology, and how they can make business meetings descend into chaos.

Dodgy Meetings

No matter the industry in which we work, we have all experienced the joys of working for an absolutely awful manager. Thankfully, for a lot of us the only time we ever see them is during management meetings, when they manage to cover themselves in glory for all to revere and laugh at.

This is a collection of the funniest and stupidest things to happen in business meetings.

The Ice Breaker

Do not get me wrong, the icebreaker is, in general, a good idea. It allows people to relax and settle them for the day ahead. Until the manager pulls out the ridiculous “Hopes and Fears” icebreaker. What are my hopes and fears for today? Well, to be honest I hope that this complete waste of time, expenses draining meeting only runs until lunchtime so we can go in the pub and get drunk. My fear would be saying something ridiculous that would make you think I am not taking this seriously at all.


The Backburner

I have experienced this one myself personally, and it is fair to say that the person running the meeting never used it again. It was a toss-up between this and the stupid notion of having an agenda point titled “Any Other Business,” but this one just about won out.

Putting something on the backburner is, of course, a saying for leaving something until later. During this particular meeting, the facilitator actually put a piece of flip chart paper on the wall titled “The Backburner.” Whenever someone queried something in the meeting that he did not want to discuss, it went “on the backburner.”

Everyone, except for me, obviously, thought this was a great idea, until 5pm rolled around and, with everyone wanting to head off home, we still had 12 issues to discuss that had been put on the backburner earlier. To this day I have still not experienced something so ridiculous!

What Can We Do?

It is always great to be at a meeting with someone who does not know how to use PowerPoint. Using PowerPoint as the main basis for a meeting is a crime in itself, but that is a story for another day. “Employee engagement” is a buzz word in management speak these days, so what better way to engage them than by asking them what they think the companies’ objectives are.

Better yet, why not idiotically put the answers up first without realising, then shower praise on your team for having such great ideas and being in tune with the company mission statement so closely?

Posterita is revolutionary new retail point of sale (POS) software that allows chain stores and single stores to manage every aspect of their operations via an easy-to-use web-based platform.



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4 of the Best Ice-Breaking, Team Building and Problem Solving Activities


To some employees the words ‘team-building activities’ can bring on a sense of dread. When organised properly, with the good of the employees as a central focus, these days can be a great way to build a good team at work and get to know your peers in a different context.

Here I will suggest a few ideas that can make your team building day a beneficial one, not just one of the dozens they’ve attended before.

To keep your group engaged you need activities that really require thinking and active discussions between team members.

Ideally, for half a day, you’d have 2 ice-breakers, one team-building, and one problem solving activity. So here are the four best activities to provide you with an ideal agenda for a team building session.


  1. Two Truths and a Lie

This is a great ice-breaking exercise for groups who aren’t familiar with each other – so ideal for conferences.

Simply get each team member to write down two truths and a lie about themselves, and then share the 3 statements with each other. The aim of the game is to work out which statement is false, whilst learning a bit about everyone in the group – but only reveal the false statement once everyone has taken a guess!

2. The Classification Game

This is a great game to break the ice both in situations where participants know each other well, and where they don’t know each other at all.

Break the team down into small groups, and give them 10 minutes to find out all they can about each other. Then ask every group to come up with three “categories” that describe each person within the team – without being negative, discriminatory or prejudicial – for example, someone could be a “sci-fi fan”, a “toffee popcorn lover”, and a “Twitter addict”. This shows how every person has more to them than meets the eye, and gets everyone to open up.

Team Building

3. The Shipwrecked Game

This exercise gets down to the nitty gritty of team-building – it gets people to voice their opinions, argue their points and come to compromises.

Split your group up into teams of 4-10. Give the teams the scenario that they are about to be shipwrecked on a desert island, and can chose 10 items to take with them. Give them a time limit of 15 minutes, and let them debate!

Problem Solving

4. Toxic Waste Dump

This activity takes a little setting up, but is ideal for really getting people to work together to problem solve.

You will need a bucket filled with water or tennis balls (I would recommend only using water outside), a larger bucket, 8 x 2.5m lengths of cord, 1 x 4m length of rope and a bungee cord loop.

Place the bucket in the middle of the room, and map out a circle around it with the rope, and place the larger bucket about 3m away from the circle. The bucket with balls/water represents a container of “toxic waste” and the circle around it represents the “contamination zone”.

The aim of the game is for the team to move the toxic waste into the larger “toxic waste neutralising” bucket within 30 minutes – but only using the 8 cords and the bungee loop. If they enter the contamination zone they will suffer severe injury, and if they spill the contents of the bucket, or do not complete the task, the world will be destroyed!

These exercises are actually a really great way to get to know your team, build trust between you and establish a working bond. When organising one of these events, plan ahead.

Planning a team building session isn’t easy – you’ll need to make sure you’ve sorted your meeting room hire, and you’ll need around four main activities, and no one wants to be the person who suggests, for the hundredth time, to do the Trust Lean!

Any team building fails you would like to share?

James Duval is blogging genius with a flair for IT, business and education. He blogs for Keele Conference.


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