Are you having a tough time getting your employees amped for Monday morning meetings?
Meetings don’t have to be something to dread. In fact, they should be the opposite. Meetings are your chance to unleash the creative beast that reigns within you and within your employees. Once you try these 15 tips, you will grow to love your meetings and even look forward to them.
Ask yourself, “If I could create the perfect meeting, what would it look like and why?” Use those out-of-the-box ideas to rally your staff. When it comes to leading team discussions, it’s all about mindset.
Attitudes are contagious, so be sure to have yours peppy, positive and a little wacky. You will see your former borefest meetings instantly transform into fascinating, collaborative sessions, right before your eyes.
Behold 15 new and improved, and seriously effective, team meeting ideas to elevate your weekly staff huddles.
Want to become a better professional in just 5 minutes?
1. Set the right tone
Having a positive attitude s is the single most important thing a leader can do to improve team meetings.
Just before you kick off the meeting, employees are looking for clues on what the tone will be. Setting a “fun vibes” precedent off the bat will do three major things – relax your team, encourage them to contribute to the conversation and move the meeting along smoothly.
When you ask companies the main reason why they conduct meetings, they agree that it’s primarily to report bad news. If you want to lighten the mood, start the meeting with three minutes of good news. Ask team members to share anything positive that has recently happened with their family, within the community or in their job.
This will cause your team to be more positive and productive and they will be on time because they don’t want to miss the good news sharing!
Keeping that lively mood going will accelerate your employees’ momentum for the rest of the day, directly boosting productivity and energy levels.
Don’t forget to wrap up the same way you began, by inviting team members to come to you with any follow-up questions.
2. Host a “theme” team meeting
How fun would it be to have your colleagues dress up as characters from Mad Men or The Office? Disguise activates creative areas in the brain causing us to act and speak in ways we normally wouldn’t. In this case, positively.
We’re not talking a full-on Halloween costume per say, but adding some Dwight-inspired glasses (perhaps a middle hair part, too), or a Don Draper-style suit could really spark inspiration among employees.
Initiating something silly creates a stronger team and builds a better culture, as well as encouraging employees to see you as a regular person who, yes, likes to have a good time.
3. Play music as everyone walks in
There’s nothing that moves the soul quite like music does. Live a little and put on some tunes for your staff to enjoy.
You don’t need to keep the jams blaring during the entire meeting; having it play in the background as an introduction should do the trick. A quick couple of cords can have a big impact on waking up the brain.
4. Sound off with industry news
You are fully aware that being in-the-know about your competitors is imperative to stay on trend and keep up with consumer demands. If your team isn’t subscribed to your industry competition’s newsletters, sign them up!
Ask your staff to bring in tidbits of industry news that they find interesting or relevant. Staying inspired will help your employees be better informed on what other organizations are up to. This simple trick will get everyone’s creative juices flowing and keep collaboration top-of-mind.
5. Inspire intrapreneurship
According to entrepreneur and economic theorist, Dusty Wunderlich, it is crucial to create a culture within your organization that empowers everyone to be innovative and entrepreneurial.
Allow your team to pitch innovative ideas – from new products to ways of generating more revenue to improving current processes. Encourage a Shark Tank mentality of “the bigger idea, the better.”
Here’s a list of questions that will prompt your team to think creatively and improve your bottom line:
“If you were given $100,000 to invest in the business, what would you use that money for? Why is it the most important initiative?
“If you could change anything about the company, what would it be? How would you put it into practice?”
“How would you foster ongoing partnerships with local nonprofits?”
Encourage your team to offer more ideas each week by parallelling each meeting with new business-specific categories such as experiences, leadership, philanthropy, products, and technology. Hold sessions at the end of the work week to vote on favorite initiatives.
This helps create a culture of collaborative, collective intelligence, and promotes the importance of making employees feel both valued and valuable.
6. Focus on the why
Focus on why you are doing what you are, rather than what you are doing. When a meeting is called, the first thing employees think is, “Why are we having this?”
Be sure to have your why front-of-mind as it can be easy to focus on the things necessary to get there (the what). Team members want to know where they are going within a company as it pertains to the greater good, and being routinely shown that will keep their focus where it needs to be.
Bring this mentality into your meetings by going deep on short-term goals while keeping your eye on the bigger picture. Focusing regularly on the big picture gets employees excited about work, and as a result, motivates them to do whatever is necessary to get there.
7. Make your team feel like they are making a difference
Remember your employees are the backbone of your business. You need to remind them that their hard work does not go unnoticed. Recognize individual and group accomplishments often to keep their spirits up and ambition fueled.
Here’s a video that shows how we give regular employee recognition at SnackNation.
Incorporate this priority into team meetings by congratulating teams on their successes. For example, call out the marketing team for creating a wonderful campaign that brought in new business and cheer for membership services because of their impeccable customer service that doubled last year’s revenue.
Involve your teams in creative strategy and decision-making, and give them the reins on a challenging project.
This will also ignite some healthy competition among the team, encouraging them to move projects and other office duties along more quickly.
8. Change the setting
When you think of meetings, do you imagine being locked in a dark, dungeon-like room and not being allowed speak? We have all had our own version of this experience and we dread reliving it.
A change of scenery does wonders for the mind. Go outside, snag a table at the local restaurant or coffee shop, or simply move your meeting to the lobby.
Exposure to new surroundings will help you break out a creative rut, causing your mind to expand and adapt by tapping into new mental resources.
9. Let your employees lead
If managers do all the talking, employees learn to hold back ideas and comments because they feel like they won’t have a chance to speak up.
One easy solution is to hand over the office mic and grant your staff full permission to conduct the meeting.
Example: Have team members delegate a new host in charge of initiating a themed brainstorming session according to their department. Spice it up by assigning personality-based taglines to kick off the meeting, like, “Gary is his name, social media and craft beer-drinking are his games!” or “The only thing bigger than Jess’s belly is her heart,” (if she is pregnant, of course!)
Not only does this make employees feel good, but it also builds trust between you and your team members which will increase employee engagement and further commit them to the organization.
Collaboration is key in this regard. If you allow team members to talk amongst themselves freely rather than sit and listen to their leader, you will notice an increase in team communication and transparency.
10. Use visuals
Meetings have a tendency to cause our minds to drift off into la-la land, especially if they are long. Including visuals brings your words to life, and paints a clearer picture for employees, who in turn, are able to better connect project ideas with plans of action.
If you are talking about an influential board member, putting a face to a name really helps everyone grasp who they are dealing with. If you have a big conference coming up, seeing a layout of the space helps team members visualize the specifics of the event so they can be better prepared for what’s to come.
11. Provide coffee and “the good muffins”
Everyone loves free food. Whether it’s coffee or snacks, food and beverage is a surefire way to lure people in and put them in a good mood. Have the office favorite coffee shop catered in, or, if your team is small, get everyone’s drink order and have it hot and ready as they enter the conference room.
This simple gesture shows your team you want them to feel comfortable, and that the office can be an enjoyable place. The sweet aromas will elicit good and happy energy all around so your employees can focus on relaxing and retaining new information.
12. Share old work stories from previous companies
Assuming the majority of your team worked somewhere else before working for you, holding a meeting to debrief on how other companies enhance creativity could be a really cool way to find out what your employees are interested in.
Have everyone popcorn off tips, learned in past jobs, to boost office morale. Was it attending trivia night together once a month? Did volunteering in the community bring team members together?
Open a free-for-all discussion (interruptions are OK for this one) on what worked and what didn’t for company outings and activities with previous employers. After bouncing ideas off one another, pick a few winners and make a plan to go paintballing (or whatever exercise you see fit).
13. Share your (career) fears
Have everyone go around and mention one thing they are afraid of as it relates to work. Allowing your staff to be vulnerable with one another will open up new discussions and give everyone a feeling of relief that they aren’t the only ones dealing with job insecurities.
As a follow-up, you can check in with employees to see what they have done to face their fears within the past week and if it has shifted their outlook. This shows your staff that you genuinely care about them and want them to succeed.
14. Host a happy hour meeting
Fact: People loosen up when they have a drink or two in them. Why not mix business with pleasure? Doing so will get employees chattering on topics that normally wouldn’t come up in the office.
The result could be creative solutions and strategies to further your business while also fostering community spirit for the whole team.
If permitted, bring in a case of beer on a late Friday afternoon as both a thank-you and a fun replacement for the traditional team meeting. Or, end office hours a little early and corral everyone to an actual happy hour. Be sure to set a two-drink maximum to keep it work appropriate.
15. Bring in a special guest
Inviting a professional development speaker in the office is a really fun and effective way to mix it up and get employees re-inspired and re-engaged in the workplace.
If your next meeting objective is to focus on increasing sales, have a sales expert talk about tapping into the customer’s emotions, or whatever topic aligns with your business.
Having an outsider give you insider information conjures untapped feelings of motivation and determination that wouldn’t have otherwise surfaced.
You can build off your staff’s newfound energy by tapping into the lessons that made them think and bring those front-of-mind perspectives to your next get together.
Looks like the secret to leading effective team meetings is being open and relatable. When you show your staff you appreciate them and the work they produce, you’re letting them know that they are a fundamental part of your organization.