How to make meetings more interesting and productive

Although meetings exist for a serious purpose, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be fun as well.

Meetings are designed to boost employee retention, engagement, creativity, teamwork and innovation, so making them more enjoyable could be a more proactive approach.

Every team is different, so you should perhaps start by asking your co-workers how they would like meetings to look. Simply ask them what they would view as a perfect meeting – then use the results to plan a more enjoyable event.

Meeting attendees standing around a wall covered in post-it notes

You shouldn’t feel the need to include every idea that your co-workers suggest, as this may be impractical, but some suggestions are easy to address – e.g. if the general feeling is that they would prefer a more inspirational venue than your office, then why not move your meetings to an outside venue? Even relatively small perks such as coffee and biscuits during the meeting or even sandwiches if it’s near lunchtime, these can make all the difference.

A “fun” meeting doesn’t mean one that’s packed full of entertainment or jokes! It is one that’s interesting and interactive, thus engaging the participants – so you will need to find out what motivates them.

Experts recognise two different forms of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic relates to external motivation, such as receiving a financial bonus or a gift if you meet your performance goals. Intrinsic motivation refers to internal motivators, such as improving your skills or reaching personal goals.

The best way of motivating people is through intrinsic motivation, as team members will be seeking to improve their performance because they want to do so, rather than because they fancy a financial reward at the end. It isn’t hard to incorporate this culture into meetings. Rather than have a meeting where one person is talking and everyone else is sitting quietly taking notes, encourage attendees to interact.

Ask co-workers to share news of what they’re working on and their successes and encourage them to discuss their ideas with colleagues. In a nutshell, cut out long monologues by one person and try to engage everyone by getting them to actively take part.

Praise is one of the biggest motivators and it should be given where it is due – employees will feel valued and appreciated. Research has shown that more than 80% of workers feel motivated when they are appreciated. This is the basis of intrinsic motivation. If the meeting shows that the attendees’ input is valued and appreciated, they will be encouraged to move forward and contribute more.

You could ask everyone at the meeting to share something that they recently achieved – or a different way of handling it would be to ask each team member to share something about the person sitting next to them, in terms of what they have achieved.

Meeting attendees standing aroudn chatting during a coffee break

You could go one step further and when there’s something to celebrate – such as opening a new account, finishing a project ahead of time, a promotion or such like – celebrate with a sparkling drink served in a champagne glass, perhaps even the real thing if the occasion is appropriate!

Other tips for creating a more pleasant atmosphere include starting 10 minutes earlier than usual and using that time more as a social mixer, where everyone can grab a coffee and mingle with other attendees. This also prevents people from rushing in with 30 seconds to spare, grabbing their seat and having everyone wait for them to fumble about in their folder looking for their agenda.

You also need to keep the meeting moving: particularly with long meetings, change the presentation style every 20 minutes or so. You could have a question and answers section, small group breakouts, team presentations, small breaks, feedback five minutes or some time to vote on topics.

The key is to make meetings matter. Don’t let them fall into the category of something employees have to do against their will. Make them something that people will look forward to as a break from sitting at their desk. Happy staff are productive staff – so rather than having people leaving the venue feeling like they need a lie down and a stiff drink, make sure they’re raring to go and filled with renewed enthusiasm for the challenges ahead.

Should you decide a change of venue is just what your team needs to motivate them, find the best meeting venues in London by contacting &Meetings. Our inspirational meeting rooms in London are the perfect tonic!

 

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