There’s no use sugarcoating it:
Most meetings are incredibly dull. People detest meetings so much that 47% of meeting participants say meetings are a waste of time.
If you’ve ever been distracted during a meeting, you know why. Our attention spans are short and often, meetings aren’t optimized for engagement, learning, or idea-generation. For example, TED talks are exactly 18 minutes long because the organizers know that’s how long attendants can stay focused.
But what if people would want to attend your meetings?
Sounds pretty good, right? Fortunately, there are ways in which you can hold great, engaging meetings. All it takes are a few quirky and weird meeting tips. Enjoy!
Make meetings fun and interactive with these easy tips
An engaging meeting is fun.
That doesn’t mean you have to rent a bouncing castle or throw a party every time you hold a meeting.
Instead, consider spicing up your meetings with some easy and effective tips. Here are some suggestions:
What’s a great source for dopamine (the hormone that regulates your happiness level), energy, and focus?
Yup, working out. Research shows that exercise boosts concentration, memory and increases energy levels, which helps the brain think.
So why not skip all those conservative meeting practices and get moving with the team?
There’s plenty you can do; jogging, yoga, or using exercise balls- the sky’s the limit.
Say something nice about each other
Did you know that receiving compliments has the same effect on our brain as receiving cash?
Compliments are a powerful way to motivate people. And, let’s be honest- who doesn’t like to hear a few nice words every now and then?
With that said, what better way is there to make meetings fun than to praise each other a bit? That’s right, make a habit of holding a 10-minute session where everyone mentions one thing that the person on their left or right-hand side succeeded with the previous week.
Will this make team members eager to attend meetings?
Lift the team spirit
A motivational boost can do a lot for increasing work productivity.
So why not have a weekly huddle (if it works for sports teams, it can work for you) or have a beer after your weekly Friday meetings?
Now you know how to hold fun meetings. But what more can be done to disrupt meetings? Next up: Creativity.
Help boost creativity
Creativity is more important than you’d think. According to a study by a Yale researcher, people who have an overall creative lifestyle are more conscientious and more prone to seek out personal growth.
This goes to show that creativity has plenty of benefits. Why not make use of it during your next team meeting?
Coloring has been shown to have a therapeutic effect and create focus, reduce anxiety and make people more mindful. Bring some coloring pencils and paper and let team members doodle during the meeting. Or use coloring books that meeting participants can fill in. Alternatively, you can use Play-Doh, play a game, or whatever else you can think up.
Now, coloring isn’t the only way to boost creativity. There are other, unusual ways to increase creativity during a meeting.
Brainstorm ideas. The key to getting to big ideas is to consistently generate multiple ideas. What does this mean? You should encourage meeting participants to come up with plenty of ideas. Some of them might be impossible to implement, but you’re one step closer to getting to those breakthrough ideas. Start your meetings with a round of ideas and encourage people to bring forward any ideas – even if they seem ridiculous.
Get different opinions. As humans, we cling to our deeply held opinions. It’s challenging to get different opinions because of this. However, it’s essential for all organizations to see things from different perspectives to be truly creative and find big, game-changing ideas. You need to find differentiating and contrarian views and discuss them during your meeting. Make a habit of getting meeting participants to challenge every idea with a differentiating opinion.
Change your routine. According to a Dutch study, people who do things differently from their usual routine are more productive when brainstorming compared to people who follow their routine. Shake things up a bit during your next meeting. And what better way is there than to do something unusual? For example, change your meeting environment and do something out of the ordinary, like visiting an escape room before your meeting starts.
And if you just want an easy way out? In that case, take note: research shows that mild intoxication can boot “out of the box” thinking. Holding a meeting while you have Friday beers doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Optimize your meetings by gamifying them
The definition of gamification is pretty simple. By completing a task, you get rewarded. And the possibility to get a reward motivates you to complete the task.
Some aspects of your meetings can be gamified to motivate meeting participants. For example, reward meeting participants who add value to a meeting. How? You could have an incentive for meeting participants to come up with ideas, such as a reward for the person who came up with most ideas in a month.
In the same sense, you can have “punishments” for those who break meeting rules or have bad meeting habits. For example, meeting participants who are late to a meeting must sing a song or add a few bucks to the team’s beer jar. Not only does everyone have an incentive to follow the rules, but you also bring team members closer together.
Use concrete methods to keep meetings short
On this blog, we talk a lot about keeping meetings short. There’s no denying it- short meetings are more effective. Plus, as noted above, people’s attention span isn’t that long.
But how do you effectively keep meetings short? There are a few tips off the beaten path that might help you keep your meeting to the point.
For example, business development firm Just Fearless has a rule that the team stands up when the meeting time is up. “This keeps meetings from being drawn out and without a set purpose and agenda. Whether we’re in the office or meeting in a public place, the rule still applies. My staff tends to stay on time because no one wants to stand—especially in a public place with those nearby seated and staring,” says founder Kisha Mays on Fast Company.
Other ideas include self-dimming lights that make lights go out after your meeting time is up (Roombot makes this happen) and hour glasses to demonstrate how much time is left. Just remember to follow through; if the lights are out or the sand has trickled down, you end the meeting.
Make meetings effective with quirky habits
Meetings are costly and need to be kept effective. Both you and I know that is easier said than done. So, how do you keep meeting participants focused and engaged?
Here are a few quirky habits that might help you out:
Keep minutes of silence
Silence can be an extremely powerful way to get everyone focused. Start by a short one or two minute meditation exercise to get meeting participants ready for your meeting.
Alternatively, you can keep moments of silence in between agenda items or before a decision is taken. That way, meeting participants have a chance to think about a decision before they speak their mind.
Let people walk around in the meeting room
Sitting in a meeting can be tiring and many meeting participants might think quicker on their feet. So, ditch conventional business etiquette and tell meeting participants that they can pace around in the meeting room if they want.
Ask meeting participants to be interactive
You don’t have to do all the work by yourself. Ask meeting participants to be interactive to keep the meeting effective (after all, you all suffer if the meeting drags on). For example, ask them to keep up a sign if someone talks for too long or if the meeting gets derailed.
Conclusion: Weird meetings can mean great meetings!
Hopefully, this article has given you one or two ideas for your next meeting.
Thinking outside the box is important for any organization. For your meetings, it will mean two things in particular. First, meeting participants get excited to attend them. Second, you build and maintain an innovative environment.
Implement just one thing we’ve discussed here and you’re off to a great start.
Have you any weird meeting tips you’re already using? Or have you tried any of the tips listed here?
Write in the comments below and let us know!