Employers often look for ways to spice up company meetings. Making these regular business sessions more interesting and engaging for participants can inspire creative new ideas. The level of enthusiasm an office demonstrates also contributes to morale.
Below are seven ways to generate more productive meetings every month.
- Begin with a smile
While employees wait for everyone to arrive at the meeting, don’t waste potentially useful time. The person opening the monthly meeting should go around the room and ask each person already in attendance to share a clean humorous story or joke with the group. The person who comes up with the most, i.e. drops out of this game last, receives a surprise employee recognition certificate for a free meal or other small gift at the end of the meeting.
This type of informal exercise holds value because (1) it places everyone in a better mindset at the beginning of the meeting, and (2) the process of laughter relieves tension in the room and produces a physical state of greater relaxation and awareness, mixed with camaraderie. Although these benefits seem rather subtle, they may lend surprising strengths to a subsequent discussion.
- Stop for brief physical activity
If the speaker notices energy flagging among those in attendance during the meeting, or eyelids sagging, allow the speaker to call a brief spontaneous two minute halt to the proceedings to lead a simply physical activity session. This can be as simple as standing and stretching upwards or involve something more complex, such as a brief follow-the-leader session or a participatory Tai Chi exercise demonstration. No one should suffer criticism for their wandering attention; keep things upbeat.
People in a company maintain different “biological clocks.” Some employees find themselves operating at peak efficiency later in the day while others maintain naturally higher levels of energy in the morning. The goal of this strategy remains simple: bring everybody’s attention back to what is going on around them in their immediate environment. When all group members focus again on the subject at hand, resume the meeting.
- Try to keep meetings under an hour
Although not always possible, it makes sense to try and limit the duration of regular monthly company meetings to as brief a period of time as possible. An ideal time may be 45 minutes, if regular meetings occur between some of those in attendance on other days. A brief, highly productive session trumps a drawn-out proceeding any time.
- A standing leader
For the same reason that elementary school teachers usually stand when addressing young children, it makes sense for the person leading the discussion to adopt a standing position. This posture infuses more energy into the group than a sitting leader offers. Additionally, by standing, the speaker usually obtains better eye contact with everyone in the room.
- Try to elicit full participation
In order to maximize contributions at the meeting, the person leading the discussion should set a goal of achieving full participation. Some employees may feel shy about addressing the group; the leader of the discussion should gently seek to draw out their opinions and views, also. Remote employees should still be able to participate fully through tools like video conferencing. By encouraging full participation, the meeting’s organizer can enhance a sense of company inclusion and joint commitment.
- Provide snacks and beverages
A regular monthly meeting will proceed better when the employer makes certain that participants can munch on snacks and beverages during the session. The presence of these items may offer extra comfort to some employees, for instance by preventing anyone from becoming thirsty. However, the sharing of these items also denotes a welcoming environment; on a subconscious level, it lets employees know the company appreciates them.
- Switch seats after breaks
Some experts also suggest that if a meeting proceeds long enough for breaks to be conducted, then everyone should receive encouragement to switch seats upon returning to business. The simple act of physically moving from one position to another in a room can place participants in the mode of viewing events from a fresh perspective. This process may assist the course of the meeting. It can also offer new, unexpected insights.