Missing Meeting Word #1: Netjerk

Have you ever met a Netjerk?

Normally we see meetings as an opportunity to increase our network, but what if the opposite happens?

A Netjerk is a person who is behaving so badly, that he is ruining his existing network.

Why invent new words?

Sometimes we miss the right words to describe a person or situation, the ordinary vocabulary isn’t just sophisticated enough to describe the world we experience. Edward de Bono once said:

“In a sense, words are encyclopedias of ignorance because they freeze perceptions at one moment in history and then insist we continue to use these frozen perceptions when we should be doing better.”

So why not do better and invent some new words, that describe some common phenomenas in the Meeting Industry?  For that end I will run a small campaign here on my blog introducing new words, that could be useful for people working with meetings and events.

Can gamification make participants addicted to your meeting?

I’m sure you’ll agree with me, if I claim that the highly motivated participants are crucial to create a succesful meeting.

So who can we turn to, if we want to learn more about how to motivate people to cooperate and work hard? I would definitely look at the computergame Industry.

More and more people leave reality and immigrate to game spaces. In the US alone more than 5 million people spend more than 45 hours a week on computergames.

The Game developer and researcher Jane Mcgonigal explains this mass exodus:

”The truth is this: in today’s society, computer and video gamse are fulfilling genuine human needs that the real world is currently unable to satisfy. Games are providing rewards that reality is not. They are teaching and inspiring and engaging us in ways that reality is not. They are bringing us together in ways that reality is not.”

The average age for videogame players is 35 years and 44% of them are women. A study showed that 61% of CEOs and CFOs take daily game breaks at work. Game dynamics are apperently appealing to all kinds of potential meeting participants and not only young men, as many would assume.

The best games are so intrinsic motivating that you never want to finish them. To play the game is a reward in itself and both quitting or winning the game are equally unsatisfying outcomes because you had to finish playing. If you have been caught up in Tetris or absorbed into Angry Birds you know what I mean.

What if we designed our meetings like games? If we made them so challenging and engaging that the participants wish they could stay longer?

To do that we have to think like game developers. We have to make attractive goals, challenging rules a and immediate feedback systems, so participants can see how they progress on the tasks they are working on. And finally we have to make it voluntary to participate in the game, if it is forced it is experienced as stressfull work instead of as fun and satisfying.

It’s not easy to gamify meetings successfully but it is possible.

Recently I’ve developed a meeting concept with Visit Denmark, called the Pitch Perfect Game. In a gamified way, the participants experience a very unusual site inspection, that ends with them pitching the strengths of the Venue to each other. The Pitch perfect game has been evaluated unusually high on both satisfaction and learning outcomes.

Another example is the Danish company Workz, that has been very succesful in developing and facilitation board games for big meetings.


Mcgonigal, Jane; Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make us Better and How they Can Change the World.