5 Tips for Productive Meetings That Won't Drive Employees Crazy

Posted by Seraine Page on Mon, Dec, 17, 2018

MeetingLet’s face it: meetings can be lame — especially early morning ones that go on for way too long.

If you can’t explain what your meeting is about in 20 seconds or less, you probably need to rethink why it’s needed in the first place. By only calling relevant meetings with clear agenda topics, you’ll waste less of everyone’s time.

Meetings can be time suckers or time savers, depending on how each one is run. With a bit of tweaking, though, meetings can still be productive and fun.

Ready to get employees excited about coming to meetings? 

Try these five tips at your next meeting:

1. Stick to the Agenda

There is nothing more wasteful or annoying than a meeting that goes off the rails. Print an agenda off ahead of time, and distribute it prior to the meeting.

How to keep things on track:

  • Keep the meeting as short as possible
  • Only make relevant attendees show up
  • Ask key participants to confirm the agenda days in advance

For any great ideas that pop up during the meeting, have someone write them down on a large easel board, if necessary. Revisit these ideas at a future meeting.

2. Meet Outside the Conference Room

Boardrooms aren’t exactly inspirational settings. Change things up for your employees to keep everyone engaged, and, most importantly, awake.

Great meeting settings include:

  • Local restaurants
  • Parks
  • Coffee shops
  • Walk and talk outdoors
  • CEO’s home (if possible)

Additionally, build-in time for spontaneous brainstorming. If you’re in a creative industry, this can be especially rewarding. Every 30 minutes, let individuals or groups spend two minutes brainstorming on the topic at hand. It puts exciting pressure on everyone to be creative and allows workers to blurt out some of their best ideas unfiltered.

3. Be Playful

Meetings don’t have to be boring. If everyone has to be there, you might as well make it slightly social while still productive.

Some fun meeting tips:

  • Start off with an icebreaker
    Doing this will liven up the meeting before it begins. Blow up a large beach ball and have employees ask a question as they toss the ball over to another coworker. Questions like, “What’s your favorite movie?” or “Where did you last vacation?” are fun icebreaker questions.
  • Make late attendees sing a song
    Implement this new rule and it’s a guarantee most of your meetings will start on time. Stick to the promise of making late arrivals sing, though, no matter where you are on the agenda. It will break up the meeting monotony.
  • Share a cute (but short) video to kick-off the agenda
    It’s hard to be irritated about a staff meeting when there’s a kitten video introduction, right?
  • Have a “talking stick” so only one person speaks at a time
    Sparkling wands, sabers, actual sticks...whichever object you choose, make sure everyone knows that the only person who gets to speak is the one holding this prized meeting possession.
  • Add a buzzer for people to tap when coworkers get off topic
    We’ve all been to meetings where someone gets completely off track. Don’t let an employee waste valuable working time by hogging the meeting. See the above tactic for preventing this, but if that doesn’t work, get an actual buzzer. This is a playful way to keep everyone on topic with the serious undertone of “really, let’s move on.”

4. Move

The human body isn’t meant to sit for long periods of time. In fact, sitting harms your employees as much as smoking cigarettes. If a meeting goes longer than 20 minutes, build in some kind of movement as part of the gathering.

Here are a few ways to get moving:

  • Stand up and stretch
  • Host a walking meeting
  • Hold an impromptu yoga session
  • Take a break to walk around the building
  • Turn on music for a 30-second dance party

5. End on time

Nobody has all day to sit in meetings (especially C-suite folks). Stick to the agenda and keep the meeting less than an hour, if possible. Host a q-and-a session after the meeting for any individuals who may have drawn-out questions. If you have a secretary or minutes keeper, ask them to stay behind to record the exchanges. Then, have it sent out via email in case anyone else might need the answers.

And when you do end the meeting, do something fun:

  • Ring a bell
  • Throw confetti
  • Play a fun exit song
  • Give everyone the rest of the day off

Your staff will thank you for being mindful of their already-packed schedules.

Meetings Shouldn’t Be Boring

 Meetings are a necessary part of the business world as it keeps everyone in the loop.

Kick off your meeting with the attitude you’d like everyone to have in the room. If you’re enthusiastic and energetic, most participants will mirror your behavior. Reiterate the point of the meeting, confirm everyone present, and start your meeting on time.

As you move through the agenda, ensure everyone is as engaged as possible while also staying on topic. Adopting a no phone policy might work well for your meetings, too, to minimize distractions.

These valuable gatherings don’t have to be boring nor time wasters. Use any or all of our productive meeting tips to keep employees alert and motivated for every meeting moving forward.

What’s your best productive meeting tip? Share in the comments below! 

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Topics: Healthy Workplaces, Wellness at Work


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