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Meetings are a standard component of day-to-day life in the modern workplace. But the cost of running meetings adds up quickly—both in terms of interrupted productivity and expenses associated with facilitating these sessions. Inc. reports organizations across the United States waste over $25 million daily on unnecessary meetings. This adds up to $37 billion wasted annually on “meetings that simply aren’t productive.”

As such, businesses are strategizing to make the most of each meeting. This means considering factors like employee engagement—are people paying attention? Are people leaving meetings with a clear sense of purpose, or did they daydream through another 30-minute presentation deck? It’s important to consider not just the length of your meetings, but also the content. Getting creative is one way to boost engagement and retention during company meetings.

But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to improve your approach to meetings and presentations. For example, working with word clouds is a simple way to spice up meetings. Here are four reasons to include a word cloud in your next meeting.

Reason #1: Word Clouds Help Break the Ice

Effective meetings tend to start strong, engaging people right off the bat. We’ve all attended slow-to-start meetings in which participants straggle in, make small talk or sit silently waiting for the session to begin. This means energy is low before the presenter or moderator even has a chance to begin. A better strategy is to unite people with an activity from the moment they walk into the room.

Word clouds serve as simple, entertaining icebreakers that help unify groups through collaboration. Questions can range from company-specific to just plain silly. Here are a few suggestions from The Balance Careers:

  • If you were a vegetable, which would you be?
  • If you were an animal, which would you be?
  • If you were a city, which would you be?
  • If you could choose to master a hobby, which would it be?
  • Which actor or actress would you want to play you in a movie?
  • Submit one word that describes your morning.

The primary advantage of incorporating word clouds as icebreakers is that it kicks off any meeting with a dose of novelty, creativity and collaboration.

Reason #2: Word Clouds Add Visual Interest to Presentations

Envision a typical presentation deck. There are slide titles. There are bullet points. There may even be graphs or images scattered throughout. But is there true visual interest? Using a word cloud generator, presenters can gauge audience opinion, summarize complex topics and create genuine shared experiences within the context of meetings.

All meeting attendees need to participate in building a collective word cloud is a mobile device. The answers update on the screen in real time, meaning the word cloud becomes a dynamic, moving element in an otherwise static presentation. Popular answers become larger, while more specific responses stay smaller. This movement and variation gives attendees’ plenty to look at, ultimately adding visual interest to any meeting.

Reason #3: Word Clouds Ramp Up Audience Participation

Human attention spans are continually shortening, in part due to the prevalence of multitasking and the rising quest for immediate gratification. Meetings that last more than 15 minutes risk losing people along the way. The last thing you want is for people to be attending meetings without actively learning and retaining information.

Word clouds can serve as a way to encourage people to tune in, especially if they’ve disengaged. Audience participation helps people feel like they have a stake in the meeting and a role to fulfill rather than a passive listener.

Reason #4: Word Clouds Encourage Visual Thinking

According to one longstanding statistic, 65 percent of the population are visual learners. This means word clouds will appeal to over half the people in any given conference room.

These four reasons demonstrate why it’s worthwhile to include a word cloud in your next meeting.

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