It’s painfully true, isn’t it?
Meetings are mind-numbingly dull and boring.
Why is that, though?
There’s no reason why meetings shouldn’t be fun and inspiring.
After all, holding meetings that employees want to attend could boost things like creativity, innovation, teamwork, engagement, and employee retention.
With a few simple tweaks, you could go from unexciting, ‘so-so’ meetings to meetings that actually make a difference.
But, how do you turn your boring meetings around? What does it take to keep co-workers engaged during a meeting? And what is a ‘fun’ meeting, anyway?
Read on to find out and get inspired by some fun meeting ideas.
Ask your co-workers what they want your meetings to look like
Every team is different. What works for one team doesn’t necessarily work for another.
Figuring out what makes your team tick doesn’t need to be too difficult:
Simply ask what your co-workers want your meetings to look like.
For example, run a survey with SurveyMonkey or another survey service. Alternatively, you can ask each team member the following question:
“If you had a magic wand and could use it to create the perfect meeting, what would it look like and why?”
Use your findings to design a meeting that gets your employees going.
Does this mean you have to cater to every wish your co-workers put forward? After all, asking them to use a magic wand can lead to some… interesting ideas.
Of course not.
Dig a bit deeper to find the underlying message. For example, if your co-workers say their dream meeting would be held in a fancy facility, you could ask if this means that they want a more inspirational meeting venue. If the answer is yes, you can move your meetings outside or improve your office’s meeting facilities.
It’s important to note here that a fun meeting doesn’t need to (and probably shouldn’t!) include lots of entertainment or anything of the like. While every team chooses the meaning of ‘fun’, a fun meeting should be one that’s engaging, interactive, and meaningful.
Use intrinsic motivation to engage your co-workers
To truly engage meeting participants, you need to understand what motivates them.
And to do that, you need to know a few things about how motivation works.
You see, there are two forms of motivation:
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Extrinsic motivation consists of external motivators, like receiving a monetary bonus or gift if a certain performance goal is met.
Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, consists of internal motivators, like the possibility to work on personal goals or improving one’s skills.
Intrinsic motivation is the best way to motivate people.
That’s why you can use all kinds of extrinsic motivators, but none of them will be as powerful as boosting your team members’ individual motivations.
So, how can you use this in your meetings?
It doesn’t have to be difficult.
For example, set clear goals for your meetings (something you should always do for effective meetings), don’t schedule pointless meetings, avoid annoying meeting behavior (which can make the meeting seem like a complete waste of time), discuss problems and successes to learn from them, ask co-workers to share what they’ve been working on and their wins, and let your co-workers share ideas with each other.
In other words, cut the monologs and make every meeting count to get engaged meeting participants.
Give thanks and increase interaction
There’s one thing that motivates us more than almost anything.
According to a study by Glassdoor, more than 80% of employees are motivated by appreciation.
This goes hand in hand with intrinsic motivation. Most of us are motivated by feeling that we’re achieving something meaningful and being encouraged to move forward.
If you’re not tapping in on this motivator in your meetings, you’re missing out. After all, it’s a great way to make your employees enjoy the meetings they attend.
Here’s how you can use appreciation in your meetings:
Ask every meeting participant to share something that their co-workers recently achieved or something they did especially well. If you’re a big team, every team member can share something about the person sitting on their left or right-hand side.
Besides being a powerful motivator for individual employees and making your meetings interactive, using appreciation in your meetings can bolster team spirit.
Give everyone a task and ask for their opinion
By making everyone feel invested in your meeting, you make participants feel that it’s in their interest to hold a successful meeting.
But how do you make meeting participants take ownership of their parts?
Give everyone a task at the meeting.
It doesn’t have to be too thought through. Ask a co-worker to act as secretary, someone else to be in charge of the meeting equipment, and so forth.
Alternatively (or additionally), ask everyone to chime in on the meeting agenda. Then, ask them to lead the discussion when their meeting topic comes up.
In fact, you should encourage your co-workers to share their ideas to strengthen the feeling that they’re personally invested in your meeting.
Start the meeting on a positive note and don’t dismiss ideas. If someone brings forward an idea that isn’t aligned with the agenda, you can suggest that your team follows up on that idea or holds a separate meeting.
That way, you give everyone a sense of purpose and reason to keep the discussion flowing at your meeting. Subsequently, it’s likelier that your co-workers feel engaged and needed at the meeting.
An interactive meeting, which meeting participants look forward to attending.
Be innovative with your meeting space
Listen, your meeting facilities might not be that inspiring.
Bright neon lights and uncomfortable seating aren’t exactly ideal for creative brainstorming. Plus, you and your team can easily get stuck in a rut by sticking to the same meeting space every time.
So, what can you do if you don’t really have any other options?
From time to time, hold your meetings somewhere else.
For example, you could go to a coffee shop nearby (coffee shops have lots of productivity perks) or move your meeting to a park.
Besides making your meeting feel more exciting, being innovative with your meeting space has other benefits. Turns out, a change of scenery can improve creativity.
How do you put this into practice?
Simply schedule your next meeting outside of your office.
Use photos and videos to make the meeting material easier to grasp
It’s easy to lose focus at meetings. There’s a strong urge to, say, check your phone.
After all, getting lots of information served in the same format can be draining. Listening to a presentation or a monolog usually takes its toll on meeting participants’ focus. Even at more interactive meetings, where meeting participants are encouraged to share their viewpoints, it can be difficult to concentrate if the topic at hand is uninteresting or hard to grasp.
But, there’s an easy fix you can use in your meeting material:
Use video and photos.
Video and photos improve learning results; people retain information better and have a more satisfying overall experience than if you convey all information in words.
To use this in your meeting you can, for example, rotate a picture that has to do with the topic at hand. Or instead of explaining a topic, use a simple explainer video (creating an explainer video doesn’t have to be difficult- use an online animation tool, like GoAnimate).
The advantages are clear:
More focused and interactive meeting participants who retain more of the information they get during a meeting.
Use gamification to make meetings fun again
If there’s one thing you need to use in your meetings, it’s gamification.
Gamification essentially means that you use elements from games that keep players engaged.
Gamification can be used in several ways in your meetings.
For example, ask your co-workers to spot something in your meeting presentation. The one who does it the fastest gets a prize, such as a funny title. Alternatively, you can talk about your topic on levels and remind meeting participants that they’re reaching new levels as you move forward. Or, talk about strategy as a board game.
You can gamify pretty much every aspect of your meeting – the sky’s the limit here. Sounds a bit more interesting than the standard meeting presentation, no?
Conclusion: Make your boring meetings fun and interactive
You made it to the end! Now you have all the tools you need to hold meetings that are fun, interactive, and engaging. To summarize what’s been said, you should:
- Get your co-workers to chime in on what your meetings should look like.
- Use internal motivators, like goal setting, to motivate people.
- Show appreciation during the meeting.
- Change your meeting space from time to time.
- Use videos and photos to increase engagement.
- Gamify certain aspects of the meeting.
Now, let’s hear from you. Give your take in the comments below:
How are you going to improve your meetings? Have you tried any of our tips? Or do you have fun meeting ideas you want to share?