TSI Blog

Inject Some ‘Oomph’ Into Workplace Meetings

July 9th, 2014 by Alison McKinney

There is no doubt that the dull and dreaded workplace meeting is one sure way to go about disengaging employees.

Creating more energised and interesting meetings will not only help maintain and increase employee engagement levels, but ensure the meeting is as effective and productive as possible.

Increasing movement and creativity in meetings helps stimulate brain activity and focus. Everyone’s happier when employees and colleagues feel engaged and important to the meeting. Follow these fun tips to making meetings more interesting and successful:

Keep It Moving

Change some features of the meeting about every twenty minutes or so, such as presentation style, instigate a panel discussion, videos, mini-breaks, team presentations, exercises, games, quizzes, feedback, etc.

Social Time

Start ten minutes earlier than usual (e.g., 8:50 instead of 9:00 am). Ensure that this time is used a social mixer.

Ideas To Go

Line the walls of the room with posters outlining different problems for group members to solve, i.e. ‘How can we improve service in XYZ department?’

Give group members post-notes, and invite them to go around the room, write ideas on their pads, and stick them on the problem poster to which they apply.

Act It Out

After information from the meeting has been delivered (training, new policies, etc.), break the meeting into groups of 5 to 8 employees and challenge each group to come up with a song, rap, dance or other ways to recap part of the “learnings” from the meeting.

Stand-up Meeting

Remove all the chairs in the meeting room, and hold the meeting standing up. It will make the meeting shorter.

Open Air

Hold the meeting outdoors in nice weather – there’s nothing better than getting out of the office for a while and being in the open air will stimulate great ideas.

Hour glass

Using an egg timer or electronic alarm clock, time discussions. Designate a timekeeper to monitor.

When the agreed-upon time is up, the timekeeper shouts out “Time!” which is the signal to move on. Imposed time constraints often boost creative output and encourage individuals to get to their point quicker.

Give Me a Break!

Make sure you set a ground rule that any group member can call a break during the meeting for any reason (comfort break, food, stretch, etc.)

Set an alarm clock for ten minutes (15 or whatever), and resume the meeting immediately when the alarm sounds. Resume the meeting going over where you left off.

Call Your Office

Pose a challenge to group members and then during a break, group members can call their office and talk to anyone they think can give them a new insight on the challenge. This can then be reported back the meeting.

Games

To get creative juices flowing, why not start the meeting with a game or brain teaser.

Celebrate Success

When there is something to celebrate in the organisation (winning new business for example), celebrate it in the meeting with sparkling water served in champagne glasses. If appropriate, use champagne! And don’t forget some nibbles!

The Funniest Thing

Ask group members to jot down the funniest thing that happened to them or in their department since the previous meeting. Put the responses in a bowl. Every now and then during the meeting, draw one out and invite the group to guess who wrote each story. If there is time, the ‘authors’ can embellish on their tale.

Exercise Break

Rotate responsibility for attendees to lead the group in some sort of physical exercise to get the meeting going or use during breaks. You could always introduce prizes for the best exercises of the week/month. Bring in a portable stereo upbeat music to accompany.

Facilitate This!

Make sure that everyone takes it in turn in being the meeting facilitator. Their responsibility: keep the meeting on track. Their challenge: to introduce a new ground rule, game, exercise or brain teaser to make the meeting more fun.

At the end of the meeting, all attendees vote on whether to incorporate the new “tool” regularly or occasionally.

Game Breaks

During breaks, run a game or competition that challenges people mentally or physically. If energy is lagging, use games that involve light physical activity.

As you can appreciate there is truly an endless number of ways to inject a bit, or a lot, of fun into your meetings. Depending on the size and nature of your meeting some of these ideas may be too “out there” for the next one, but with a little imagination and input from meeting attendees there are endless simple things that can be done to up the fun factor.

Want more ideas on how to increase employee engagement levels? Then contact us on +44 (0) 1255 850051.

Written by Alison McKinney
Alison McKinney is the Project and Quality Assurance Manager at The Survey Initiative, a dedicated employee research organisation devoted to helping its clients gain insight and understanding into what drives employee engagement in their business. Alison has extensive experience in project management and quality assurance and has recently worked on projects for clients as diverse as: WSP Middle East. Natural History Museum, Peverel, Marine Stewardship Council, Accor UK &Ireland and Thompsons Solicitors. Visit http://www.surveyinitiative.co.uk for more information.

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