It’s hard to come up with a staff meeting idea that will really engage the team. People often avoid meetings, and if they can’t, then they’ll show their displeasure by staring at their phone, the floor or anywhere other than the speaker. Yet, meetings are an important venue for getting teams informed and, believe it or not, motivated.
Project meetings don’t have to be painful, especially staff meetings. Teams are usually creative and diverse, so why can’t meetings be too? They can be if you’re willing to mix it up and try something new. If you do, you’ll find that you’re connecting better with the team and that they’re more likely to respond to questions, participate in the presentation and leave feeling invigorated about the project.
At your next staff meeting put aside the normal, humdrum meetups. Get creative, and try the following seven staff meeting ideas to help keep things fresh.
1. CEO For a Day
It’s fun being the king, so why not give someone else the throne, at least temporarily. You can have a bit of fun while acknowledging your team by passing your scepter to one of the commoners for a change. Okay, maybe the royalty angle isn’t the best analogy, but you get the idea.
Each time you have a team meeting, randomly select a team member as the leader for the length of the meeting. That doesn’t mean they have unlimited power and can do whatever they want, but they will be the facilitator. You can give them an agenda, a script or project reports to help them guide the meeting.
At least one team member won’t be bored! But seriously, by taking a backseat and having one of the team members run the meeting and deliver the information, you’re giving them a sense of power and a new way to engage with their work.
2. Virtual Meeting
Sometimes the team is all assembled under one roof, but sometimes they’re scattered around the state, country or even globe. However your team is working, it can be a nice change of pace to try a virtual meeting every once and a while.
There is certainly no lack of software to realize a virtual meeting; from Google Hangouts to Skype, video conferences are cheap and easy to do. Teams will likely embrace them, as one of the biggest complaints about meetings is that they pull you away from your work. Now you can pick a convenient time in the day where everyone can log in from their workstation.
While a decade ago this staff meeting idea might have felt new and creative, video conferencing has become commonplace. So add a pinch of creativity by inviting an outside speaker to join the discussion. This can be a relevant business leader who can address industry-specific issues in your meeting, or it can be someone outside the discipline of your work to provide a fresh perspective.
3. Spotlight a Team Member
Meetings are designed to deliver specific information. In fact, a good meeting is one that is narrowly focused on one topic. When meetings go off in too many different directions, none of the destinations they’re trying to reach are well-served.
Having said that, I bet you didn’t expect a recommendation to open the meeting to unrelated topics? Well, here it comes! Yes, there’s a benefit to being off-target if it’s planned and used only as a detour to sightsee.
What does that look like in terms of your staff meeting? You’re aware of the various tasks or projects the team is working on, so without letting the person know, choose a team member who is exceedingly excited about their work and give them the floor to discuss it. It’ll add a dose of enthusiasm to the meeting, so you might want to end with it to leave people feeling motivated.
4. Get the Team’s Input
This sounds like a given, getting the team to participate, but it’s often easier said than done. Again, the operative word here is creative. How can you be creative and encourage the team to want to play along?
Get your team more active by asking for their input whenever you announce a new goal or initiative. At the kickoff meeting tell the team that you want them to come up with ideas for achieving that new goal by the next meeting. Make it clear that you’re not asking them to just spin their wheels, but that you really need their help.
People want to feel valued and know that their participation is important to the whole. When you meet again take their ideas, mull over them with the group, and see if you can get a consensus as to which are best and should be applied to make the goal a reality.
5. Offsite Meeting
If you’re stuck in an office all day, with your face getting tanned by your monitor, any change of scenery can be a godsend. Even a meeting could look like a positive development, especially if there are donuts.
Imagine the excitement of a field trip! If you have the time, why not schedule a meeting offsite? The possibilities are almost endless. You can go to a restaurant and treat everybody to a meal while getting business done during dessert and coffee. Or take half a day off and choose a unique destination, like a park or a museum, where your team can just unwind after the meeting and return to work the next morning ready for action.
6. Move Your Body
One of the problems with most meetings is the lack of stimulation. Often, you get up from the chair you’ve been seated in for hours, only to walk down the hall and place yourself in another seat for the next hour or so. Why don’t they just put beds in conference rooms? People are going to sleep there anyway.
Instead, why not get the blood flowing? People will be more alert and take in more of what you say if you do a bit of exercise before the start of the meeting. It doesn’t have to be a crazy aerobic workout that leaves everyone a sweaty, exhausted mess. But something to loosen people up, even for a few minutes, can have a positive impact on the success of the meeting.
If you try this, you might find that people like it and want every meeting to start that way. Who knows, the team might start its own exercise club or an office sports league. If nothing else, you’ll have a healthier and more productive workforce.
7. Celebrate Wins
Meetings tend to run best when they’re efficient, to the point and quick. That’s because, in general, a meeting is set to convey a goal, strategy or task. It’s a data delivery system. But if you think creatively, you’ll wonder why all meetings must be this way.
They don’t, of course. That’s the beauty of creativity. It helps stir things up and drive innovation. So, why not have a meeting to celebrate a win? It’s not the same as the party at the end of the project. This would be to acknowledge small wins, like maybe milestones or just the completion of a difficult task.
A study from 2011 that looked at seven companies and 26 projects, noted that such small-win celebrations are highly motivating for teams. You can meet for drinks and do a post-mortem on why things went right, where you go around the group and give each person a moment to speak about their part in the success. This should be a meeting where everyone leaves feeling great.
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