Looking for ways to make your meetings spark a bit? Maybe you have a great, high-functioning team, but you still
want a way to keep it fresh, and help people stay engaged.
At Face The Music we have an experienced team that are skillful executors of the MetaMeeting Process™ that involves meeting prep from all participants, rotating
roles, built-in follow-up, and real time coaching to improve as a team. Visitors to our meetings have often been impressed by the
thoroughness, agility, and Swiss watch-like utility of the meetings.
However, about three years ago we realized that although we were good at it, the process had become a bit
automatic and predictable for such an innovative and cutting edge company (hehheh). We came to meetings knowing what to expect, and had
settled a little too comfortably into our roles.
The solution? The FTM Meeting Tapas!
For each meeting, the moderator (the one who pulls together the agenda and facilitates the meeting–a rotating
role), has 5 minutes (or more if they request it) to present an introduction of their own choosing. There are no other guidelines. What has
happened is that at each meeting we start out with something unknown that we need to be present for and engaged in, in order to participate
fully. It tees up a fresh context for going into whatever is next.
"It was a great energizer for the group and enormous catalyst to create the necessary strong bonds in the network of the trainees. Music is a very powerful social behavior tool and FTM is great and reliable facilitator band to deliver on this."
This habit of starting with a surprise/unknown has helped keep up/get up the energy, and can help shed new light
on our discussions. One trend in the meeting starters is to do something random and see where it takes us. For example, our last meeting
started with each person opening Miyamoto Musashi’s "The Book of Five Rings" to a random page and start reading from the
first heading one set their eyes on. Then we were to relate the selection read to something happening in our business. The samurai’s
insights went from startling, to profound, to amusing, and helped us to see parts of the business in a new light.
A recurring intro (sometimes used by an unprepared moderator as "the ol’ standby") is using Idea
Champion’s creative thinking Free The Genie
cards. Each participant draws a card, usually while asking the genie a question about the business, e.g. "What can we do to increase
our pipeline?" Each card has an "answer", like "Suspend Logic", "Make a Quantum Leap", "Find Wisdom
in the Absurd", or "Be a Beginner", with an action that can be taken. The person shares how that answer is apropos to their
What You Can Do
Institute meeting tapas at your team’s meetings! The meeting starters are a great way for each moderator to
share their own creativity and engage the team in a different dimension/direction. It’s a built in reframer that keeps the team engaged and
Here are some ideas we’ve used:
Putting green–Team putting
challenge; each holed out putt worth $25,000 in sales
What is it? (Close up picture
of an object and everyone guesses what it is)
Role Play (one person takes
on a role and team acts out a scene with them)
Sensory–Participates close eyes and think about everything that
happened to them on the way to work; recall sights, sounds and smells.
Take a walk together outside
of the building
How are the cars we drive are
I Ching–Ask a question, toss
Pick a person you admire, and
check in on how you are doing as them
Sing a Song– Bring lyrics
(guitar optional) and have group sing along
Penny for your thoughts– hand
out a coin to each team member and have everyone talk about where they
were the year of the date of the coin
Groove–One person starts by playing a percussive beat. The
second person listens carefully, watches internally for a musical phrase
to arise and comes in playing another. They groove until the phrases
"lock in" with each other. Add one at a time until all players
are playing a groove together
What You Can Take Home from What We Did in 2011
by Paul Kwiecinski
Like our song title goes, "Everything’s OK…and there’s work to do." We’ve all been dealt the
cards we have, and it’s time to play them each day as we go to work. A great thing is that we can pick some new cards to add to our
hand through our creativity, intention, and attention we bring to our work.
In 2011, Face The Music helped many organizations do their work in different ways, adding energy,
insight, and inspiration to the deck. Below are a few synopses of some of our work from last year that include who our client was, what
their meeting was about, our role in it, and what ideas you can think about using to up the game at your workplace.
Event: Accenture, Changing the Face of the Practice, Miami
Objectives: Examine how to improve retention and promotion of women in the business by examining how unconscious
biases were hindering progress.
FTM role: Blues interactive songwriting, acting in skits, debrief of songs and process to gain insights into the
topic at hand, write custom songs, coach leadership team to write and perform a song about their goals and intention
Summary of how it went: "Incredible!! That is how I will summarize The Face the Music experience in
Miami. Everyone, from Steve [CEO] on down had a lot of positive feedback on how this segment of the Workshop helped set the stage for
the difficult discussion." Pedro Suriel, Inclusion Director, Accenture
What client got: A lot of fun and excitement, insight and truth telling about the issues they wanted to address, a
forum to do their work that kept them engaged and in action, clear direction and actions moving forward.
What you can use: Look at the work you need to accomplish in your team, department, or organization. Define and
devise ways to approach the work that facilitate a new dialog in a new way. Arts based methods are a great way to reframe–drawing or
collage, ad lib or skit writing, drumming together to align rhythmically. Use the new framework to have the discussions needed, even if they
are tough (or especially if they are).
Event: Cytec, Andes Leadership Expedition, Norwalk, CT
Objectives: Train high-potential leaders in their personal leadership, and to lead as a team in an organizational
context, form bonds that will facilitate cross-company collaboration
FTM role: Interactive songwriting workshop, class production of music video to end session
Summary of how it went: At least some of the international group seemed a bit reluctant in the beginning, but the
first session ended on a high note including an unscheduled dance party after.
What client got: "It was a great energizer for the group and enormous catalyst to create the necessary strong
bonds in the network of the trainees.We were so pleased with both days and the great outcomes!" Pieter De Maeght, Leadership
Development Consultant, Cytec
What you can use: Put experiential learning into your training and development programs. It will accelerate the
learning, help with retention, and engage the participants to contribute in big ways.
Event: Hewlett-Packard, EMEA Sales Client Team Meeting, Las Vegas
Objectives: Training and inspiring the 850-person sales team without boring them to tears with PowerPoint and pep
FTM role: House band for the day, custom songs, help cross-function team to write and perform a song to close the
day, "street" musicians on the breaks, PK does "Viva Las Vegas"
Summary of how it went: Participants feedback for the day was glowing. The energy and surprises from the bandstand
kept it fresh. They especially loved seeing their peers onstage delivering the finale song.
What client got:" Thanks for the fantastic job you did for us at the EMEA kickoff in Las Vegas – you made our
event really special and we all enjoyed meeting and working with you and your awesome band." Karen Rizzello, Strategic Initiatives
What you can use: Planning a big meeting? Put yourself in the participant’s chair. How can you make that
experience meaningful and refreshing? Change learning modalities, surprise and delight them, get them involved, give them a chance to take a
Each event and gathering presents its own possibilities to be an exceptional gift to those
attending. Providing them with an opportunity to give and contribute is a big key. If we can help, give us a call–we love this
What event, initiative or challenge do you have coming up that Face The Music can add value to?