Clever Carly: What ELMO Can Do for Meetings

Keep meetings productive with a little help from—yes, you’re reading this right—ELMO

Hello, dear planners!

When searching for an event venue, I know you probably steer clear of Sesame Street, but today let’s talk about ELMO. Well, not that Elmo. 

ELMO, or “Enough, Let’s Move On,” is a strategy used by many planners to keep meetings on track. For instance, let’s say you’re hosting a Decide meeting that requires attendees to talk out a problem, negotiate or come to a decision. It can be hard to stick to the agenda when everyone is speaking their mind or discussions head off track. That’s where ELMO comes in. Here’s how to do it.

Strategy #1: Ask attendees to raise their hands.

If the conversation veers off course, have attendees silently and respectfully raise their hands. Once guests notice other raised hands, they’ll likely join along, too, signaling to the speaker that the discussion has gotten off track. When the speaker notices, he or she will stop and redirect the conversation back to the agenda.  

Strategy #2: Assign an ELMO monitor.

Like a hall monitor in grade school, an ELMO monitor is tasked with making sure attendees stick to the agenda. Before the meeting gets underway, appoint one guest to be ELMO monitor (or ask someone to volunteer). Throughout the meeting, if the monitor notices that the conversation has moved off track, he or she can respectfully intervene and bring the discussion back on course.

Of course, the first step in both of these situations is to introduce ELMO at the start of your meeting. That way everyone is on the same page as far as expectations go, and, should a guest fall down a rabbit hole and be the target of ELMO, you can minimize any potential offense. 

But something to note: There’s a difference between straying from the agenda and generating ideas. Yes, the goal of ELMO is to keep everyone on track—but in brainstorm meetings where creativity is needed, it might not be the best strategy. You don’t want to inhibit ideas, after all. 

Disclaimer aside, ELMO is a mighty tool when it comes to keeping meetings productive. Should you find other Sesame Street characters that are just as beneficial, do let me know, would you?

Until next time.

Plan well,
Clever Carly