Like them or loathe them, meetings are an unavoidable part of running a business.
Whether this is with your own internal staff, with prospective clients, or potential partners, hosting a meeting is something few of us look forward to. Even the most exciting brand with the most dynamic, inventive staff may well see more than its fair share of dull meetings unfold on its premises … but this doesn’t HAVE to be the case.
How can you make your business meetings more fun?
Try to avoid meetings that revolve around endless dry discussions. Incorporate multiple different elements to keep things moving, to boost your engagement levels and outrun fatigue.
For example, start with a brief discussion, and then move on to a slideshow presentation. Host a brainstorming session halfway through, and invite people to toss ideas your way as you jot them on a whiteboard. Hold votes on concepts, or invite attendees to share their own ideas (no matter how bad they may be).
You should take a break every twenty minutes or so, even if it’s just to grab a coffee, walk around the car park, or visit the vending machine. This lets people stretch their legs, freshen up, and come back reinvigorated for more.
Always host business meetings in the same conference room, with its blank white walls and faded brown carpet? Tired of seeing people slumped over that table, or falling asleep in their chair?
Well, keep things fresh – change venues on a regular basis! Consider going to your recreation room and putting some beanbags on the floor, encouraging people stretch out and relax. Take your team or clients to a coffee shop or a bar for a casual drink as you talk. You might even want to go for a walk around the nearby park or head to the mall as you chat.
If your attendees feel more relaxed and are kept active, they’re more likely to be engaged – and your meetings will be far more productive.
Looking to create new ideas for a logo, for a new product or service, or just want to get your team’s feedback on something?
Make it into a game rather than the usual round-table discussion. Consider asking people to write their ideas or thoughts down on anonymous pieces of paper, mix them up, and have everyone try to guess the author. While it’s only a basic game, it can help to inject a little more fun and encourage people to use their minds in a creative way, warming them up to be inventive.
While letting people visit the vending machine or grab a cup of coffee’s a great way to break up meetings, actually bringing food and drink into the space is a terrific way to lift the mood and energy levels.
Give people the chance to request or vote on the foods and drinks: Pastries and coffee? Pizza and Coke? Burritos and beer?
This gives everyone a reason to look forward to meetings, and makes them feel more valued. You might want to have music playing quietly in the background, or have the TV running, to create a relaxed atmosphere.
Even if you’re hosting a meeting to give your team bad news or terminate a client’s contract, try to start on a positive note.
Draw attention to recent successes, emphasize the progress you’ve made together, and focus on the future. Don’t lead in with a negative mood and simply drag it down lower and lower … everyone will walk out of that room with their heads down.
So, with these in mind, what techniques do you use to make meetings more exciting and engaging? Have you tried any of the ideas discussed above?