Every staff meeting needs a goal. Not just any goal, but a big goal. Go big or go home.
This morning’s staff meeting goal was: This will be a successful meeting if we understand the importance of Play Value, how our toys offer Play Value and the special needs of Play Value.
After that, I needed an activity to get the points across. The first two parts of the goal were simply review. We talk about Play Value all the time. We talk about the three pillars of a great toy. We talk about the two different ways kids play – Directorial & Participatory – all the time.
Today’s meeting, however, was really about understanding the five different types of learning that toys offer kids of special needs. Cognitive, Communicative, Physical, Sensory, and Social/Emotional. I needed something big and memorable and visual that they could refer to later.
I came up with this.
I stood against the board and had a staff member trace my body. Then we talked about the five types as I drew shapes. Cognitive was a thought cloud coming up from the brain (yeah, okay, I wrote cognizant instead of cognitive – sue me). Communication was caption balloons coming from both sides of the mouth. Social/Emotional was a big heart in the chest. Sensory was two circles by each hand. Physical was trapezoids down by the legs.
The staff split into teams of two and went out to find a toy for each category. They presented their toys while I wrote each toy in the appropriate space. If there were any duplicates, that team had to go find a new toy. Pretty soon we had six toys for each category. And a huge visual. And a pattern of what kinds of toys fit each category. And a discussion of how to identify which category a customer’s request might fit in.
Every meeting needs something unexpected. Since we already knew the first two parts of Play Value, I asked one person to get up and describe the three pillars. She nailed them and I gave her a $25 gas card. Two more questions, two more gas cards later, we had covered the basics. Not only did the gas cards delight the winners, it made the rest of the staff take notice that knowing this stuff was lucrative.
The discussion centered around recognizing the patterns of toys that fit each category of learning. We also discussed how to assess what a customer might want, what kinds of questions to ask. The visual of the big board with all the toys on it helped tremendously in the discussion.
THE ACTION PLAN
Since there were no assigned tasks with this meeting, I simply made a copy of the following picture for everyone to keep and put the big board in a prominent spot in our warehouse.
Is your staff having this much fun at your staff meetings?
PS You don’t need to sell toys to have fun meetings. But you do need to plan fun things. Don’t know how? Start with Staff Meetings Everyone Wants to Attend. Then download the Staff Meetings Worksheet. Then send me a note if you need more ideas.
Phil, So glad I found you via Astra. I am new to the toy industry and love love love that you are so willing to share helpful tips. Looking forward to reading more of your posts and learning from you. Thank you!