Meetings can make the day drag on. After them, you may feel like you need to catch up with work or make up for lost time. Many people see meetings as a waste of time — especially if they’re run poorly or could have been an email. Here are some fun ways to engage your team members without sacrificing critical material.
1. Plan the meeting in advance.
Spend time working on a planned-out agenda, which will tell people exactly what they should expect at the meeting so they can prepare accordingly. Once you have a plan, share it with everyone ahead of time. Make sure to make it look fun, using bright colors or fun art. If the meeting is virtual, tell everyone to set their backgrounds to something under the umbrella theme.
2. Define roles at the beginning.
Before you start your meeting, clearly define what you expect of your audience. Do you want them to participate and offer suggestions? Are you going over policy changes and only need to ensure they’re listening? If people know what you expect of them going into the meeting, they’ll likely feel less anxious or confused. You can give the roles creative names to add a dash of fun.
3. Start and end on time.
When people walk into a meeting, they expect it to last precisely as long as the meeting called for. Going over means they miss out on time they could use to work on their current task or project. You can make a game out of it, saying the first few people in the meeting room and prepared can leave work 10 minutes early.
If you want your team members to trust and listen to you, you should respect their time, just as you expect them to respect you while you’re running the meeting. Do your best to start according to when you said the meeting would happen, but try to make up for lost time if you run a few minutes late.
4. Go outside.
If your workplace has ample outdoor space, consider taking the meeting outside. Being outdoors can mean distractions, but your team members should be able to focus for a short meeting and might be glad to have a change of scenery. Spending time outside might also help decrease feelings of depression and anxiety in your employees, making it a welcome break outside the office. Let nature be the backdrop of one of your future meetings.
5. Have an activity ready.
If you plan for your meeting to be longer, it might benefit from involving your audience at some point. Consider building a teamwork-related exercise. That way, employees can leave their chairs and stretch their legs halfway through. They might find it fun to work through an activity together to break up some of the brain power they’ve been using during the meeting.
6. Use color-coding to your advantage.
Hand out highlighters to everyone who attends the meeting. With different colors, they can highlight specific notes during or after the meeting that need more of their attention. Color-coding these notes allows your team members to embrace their creativity and make their notes from the meeting more memorable.
Host a creative meeting when you can.
Sometimes, you may have no choice but to give a meeting the same boring way you always have. When you have the freedom to be creative, lean into it. Something fun will make the meeting more memorable for you and your employees. You can even take suggestions on what fun element your workplace wants to see next.