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12 Team Meeting Ideas to Engage Your Employees
Team meetings are a necessary part of any successful organization, particularly now. However, many organizations still use team meeting ideas that fail to keep their employees engaged, making them a boring and formulaic check-in rather than an exciting and productive experience. Even with the online meeting tool options that so many of us are utilizing today, there are several ways to lift engagement and ultimately, camaraderie and contribution.
Believe it or not, there is room for creativity in your team meetings and it can be the catalyst that pushes attendees to get more out of team meetings. Organizations can draw on several different techniques to spice up their internal company meetings, holding them on a regular or as-need basis.
Creative team meeting ideas can help team members to get together and pitch, brainstorm, or check in on certain pertinent developments within the company. Internal meetings exist in order to give all team members an opportunity to touch base with members of the same organization on issues big and small.
Most staff members, regardless of position, don’t tend to associate team meetings with enjoyment or fulfillment. There is a connotation of boredom and mundanity attached, often resulting from repetitive and ineffectual practices. Keeping employees engaged during these regular, or intermittent, check-in periods is an absolute necessity if you are to encourage and maintain motivation and commitment from your staff.
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12 Team Meeting Ideas to Make Your Meetings Fun and Effective
Here are some great examples of creative, tried-and-true team meeting ideas (and yes, even the online ones) that can help keep your employees engaged:
1. Start Every Team Meeting with a Win
In order to start a team meeting positively, you must start with a win. Beginning a meeting by announcing some recent accomplishment or presenting accolades to a top performer in the office, sets the tone for the rest of the meeting. When a meeting kicks off with a forward-thinking, positive narrative, people will immediately feel more positive about the meeting itself and more motivated to participate.
The win itself can be big or small. Was a project a success? Did a certain staff member perform exceptionally well the last few weeks? Is there a milestone you can celebrate? Any type of win should be shared with the team. Alternatively, you can ask everyone at the meeting to share a win themselves. Either way, you are setting your meeting up for success.
2. Internally Score Your Team Meetings
While the influence of external rewards is undeniable, many employees feel equally motivated by improving their own performance within an organization. Together with your team, try scoring each team meeting to make sure they’re being continuously improved upon. This can involve asking each staff member to score the meeting once it’s completed, then calculating the median score.
Keeping track of whether meetings end on time, whether follow-up items get done, whether there are tangible results to your meetings, and whether participants are engaged and participate during meetings, can also be useful to track.
3. Take Turns in Leading Your Team Meetings
This team meeting idea helps you to reduce the possibility that employees feel too monitored and assessed, giving ownership of meetings to the participants as much as to the leader.
People are much more engaged when they are expected to directly contribute vs. a single designate. Draw on this by implementing a rotating system where you take turns in leading your meetings. This keeps employees engaged by switching up the presentation and leadership style, making them feel like they’re truly a part of their team meetings, rather than just a spectator. In order to keep consistency, use meeting guidelines to map out what meetings should look like to make sure they stay as productive and effective as possible.
4. Stand Up During Your Team Meetings
During stand-up meetings, people are much more likely to participate. They stretch their legs, keep their blood flowing, and they feel much more actionable than they would sitting down. This is especially true for offices with only sit-down desks. Meetings held standing up keeps team sessions feeling much more hands-on and productive. Plan this on in advance so people can prop up their laptop cameras or video equipment.
Just Fearless employs this practice in a creative way, keeping meetings efficient in the process. Whenever meetings run long, chairs are removed, and everyone is forced to stand until it ends. One of the biggest challenges of internal meetings is remaining focused and on topic. Having the looming pressure of potentially losing your chair puts things in perspective, motivating all participants to stay on track and finish the meeting on time.
5. Use an Egg Clock and Make Long-Winded Employees Pay Up
Team meetings that run on for too long are a constant challenge in any organization. Implementing tactics to eliminate running past the clock can help your organization in reducing wasted meeting time, keeping meetings focused and employees on-track.
Using an egg clock is a simple way to make sure meetings don’t take up too much time. Once the egg clock rings, then the time is up, and the meeting must end. This gives meetings a necessary sense of urgency to keep things moving at the pace they should be, rather than wasting time getting off-track. Time limits can vary depending on the size of your team, and on the regularity of the meetings themselves. If your team meetings are weekly, 15-30 minutes should be sufficient. If they are bi-weekly, 30-45 should work. Regardless of how you adjust your allotted meeting time, the general rule of thumb is that the less time you can use, the better.
Tripping has a creative and fun method that keeps employees from running past the clock. At the start of every meeting, they set a stopwatch for 30 minutes. If the meeting extends beyond this allotted time, whoever called the meeting is responsible for putting $5 into their team beer jar. Fun rewards mixed with friendly competition can help make a productive internal team meeting atmosphere.
6. Give Everyone Time to Speak
Many team meetings fall short in engaging every employee, with some participants talking over while others keep silent. To fix this, aim to schedule a few minutes of speaking time for everyone at the meeting. By default, every participant must speak up.
To keep meetings aligned with your goals of productivity, make sure you let meeting participants know they should come prepared with useful insights for the meeting. You can do this by sharing your agenda beforehand, that way participants have a chance to prepare relevant information, keeping the meeting on-track and effective.
7. Use Different Meeting Themes
In order to see tangible outcomes for every team meeting you hold, try using different themes every time. Themes could shift with respect to what you are hoping your staff will learn that week, or you could incorporate broader themes relating to team culture, such as wellbeing.
By using themes this way, you are ensuring your team meetings don’t feel stagnant or become too repetitive in their proceedings. Changing the scope of what you are focusing, or the lens through which you are opening dialogue, encourages creativity and innovativeness in your staff.
The actual way you incorporate themes into your team meetings can vary. You can choose to go all in, gearing your activities to relate to the theme and promote its principle ideas. Or, you could choose to allocate a portion of your meeting to discuss the theme. Some examples of themes could include better teamwork, a healthier workplace, work-life balance, motivation, or productivity.
8. Create a Unique Ritual
A specific team meeting idea or activity that is unique to your organization can help your team meetings feel much more fun, and in turn, very effective. Poll Everywhere has a unique ritual that they employ at the start or end of every internal team meeting called a “moment of Zen”. During this period of the meeting, they take time, as a group, to learn something new or reflect on their day. Oftentimes, this involves meeting leaders or participants sharing an inspiring quote or a fun news tidbit. It can also involve team members drawing attention to interesting notes from the work of their colleagues during the week.
Open discussion should be the basis for any meeting but incorporating a less rigid ritual that promotes positive thinking helps employees take a step back from their own immediate business, allowing them to bond over bigger picture ideas. Ultimately, a small activity that encourages positive, rotating communication and the sharing of accomplishments or productive insights will help your staff build stronger collaboration over time.
9. Keep Employees on Topic
Many company meetings often run the risk of repetitive ideas, spinning off topic, and long-winded tangents that fail to move the conversation forward. Remedying this issue should be a goal for any team meeting leader, but one company has a particularly successful method to keep their employees on topic.
Brivo has a meeting policy where whenever someone begins to rehash a point that has already been made, another team member can hold up a ping pong paddle reading “No Rehash”. This helps employees feel empowered to bring greater energy to meetings, focusing more intently on discussions and moving the conversation forward, while also helping each other to break their bad habits.
10. Get Personal
To avoid team meetings from being a mundane, dry experience for employees, aim to incorporate some activity that engages them on a personal level. In their internal team meetings, LivePerson adds in a human aspect to their proceedings, beginning by asking a specific question in a topic chosen to help break down walls and promote deep, meaningful conversations between staff.
While it is important to keep meeting discussions on track with the organization’s plans, you should aim to include some element or technique that helps employees’ bond. Staff members who feel recognized on both and a personal and professional level are much more likely to think collaboratively, seeing things from one another’s perspective and working cohesively as a team.
11. Change Locations Once in a While
Creative team meeting ideas are not limited to the content of the meetings itself. In the same sense that you aren’t limited to one certain way to encourage participation, you’re also not limited to holding your meetings in a specific location.
Changing the location of where you are broadcasting from every now and then can help you organize better team meetings. After all, if participants always hold their meetings from the same location, they might not produce anything new. Some examples of a location change you can use include taking a walk around the house, setting up in a different room and playing with the backgrounds that are in view; e.g.; Zoom lets you drop in a jungle scene or a backdrop to the San Francisco Bridge! The point is, have fun and engage your teammates.
12. Ask for Feedback
The best way to keep improving your meetings is to ask your employees themselves. Ask participants what you can do better, adapting your methods to optimize the efficiency and productivity of your meetings. Feedback should be asked for regularly. This can be done at the end of every meeting, or more thoroughly every quarter or so. HR solutions like Sprigg’s Continuous Feedback Tool can help encourage continuous feedback, and resultingly, continuous growth and improvement for your team meeting ideas.
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Key Takeaways: Team Meeting Ideas
Team meetings are an excellent opportunity to utilize your planning skills in new and creative ways. As a meeting leader, your principle goal should always be to optimize the effectiveness of your meeting sessions. This can only be done when all employees are engaged, and employees are only engaged when they are excited by what they are learning.
Consider the team meeting ideas listed above, using them as a starting point for developing practices that suit your business and its goals. No matter the method you choose to go with, meetings are a great way to bring team members together and push them towards their highest potential together, even when we’re all apart for now.