The default staff meeting takes place in a nondescript conference room at the same time each week or month. The same group of people are in attendance. The agenda varies a bit from session to session but is generally predictable. The same participants tend to contribute.
You’re already dozing off just thinking about it, aren’t you?
When staff meetings become boring, attendees derive less value from them. Plus, employee morale plummets. It pays to figure out how to make your next staff meeting fun—no, really.
Always Break the Ice
Even if everyone in the room has known each other for years, it’s still worthwhile to kick things off with an icebreaker. Why? Icebreakers motivate people to start thinking creatively, and they help uncover new nuggets of information about everyone in attendance.
The right icebreaker will jump-start conversation: “Hey, I didn’t know you collect license plates!” Or it’ll inspire good-natured debates over topics ranging from pop culture to ethical dilemmas. Breaking the ice helps ease people into a group setting like an employee meeting, giving everyone something to use as a catalyst for engaging conversation.
Ditch the Chairs—Move Around
People file into the room, expecting to sit around a table or fill chairs facing a central “stage” area. But what would happen if they encountered a different formation? They’d have to adapt.
Furthermore, there’s no rule stating people should sit perfectly still for the duration of a meeting. As one expert notes for Forbes, moving around can energize meetings—and research shows that standing while working actually boosts performance. At the very least, incorporate a few standing or stretching breaks to get the blood flowing.
Change Up the Location
One simple way to subvert attendees’ expectations is to change up the location of your staff meetings. This may mean utilizing a different conference room or space within your building. If the weather’s nice, you could set up a meeting space outdoors—provided you’re able to proceed without too much tech. You can even plan to hold some meetings offsite for an extra dash of excitement.
Provide a “Fidget” Outlet
One of the most fun staff meeting ideas from Poll Everywhere involves providing small toys as fidget outlets for attendees. As one organizer writes, “It’s a good idea to provide scheduled and structured opportunities for each person to check out and fidget as needed.”
For this reason, they hand out toys like tops, rubber bands and robots for people to interact with during meetings. These small objects can help people productively vent their pent-up energy, freeing them up to listen more attentively.
Take Time to Celebrate Wins
Sometimes staff meetings inadvertently take a negative turn, especially when leaders focus on what could be going better rather than what’s working. Remember to take the time to celebrate wins, big and small. This will infuse your meetings with a much-needed dash of enthusiasm and positivity.
As Project Manager points out, one study of 26 projects across seven companies found that “small-win celebrations are highly motivating for teams.” Talk more about what’s going right. Enjoy snacks, treats, lunch or drinks after meeting a big deadline or wrapping up a collective project. Ask people to reflect on what they’ve accomplished and what has made them proud. The goal here is for everyone to leave the meeting feeling invigorated.
When staff meetings become run-of-the-mill events, people tend to check out—or even dread attending. Try instead to make each meeting genuinely engaging, and even fun, as a way to enhance communication and morale. Challenge participants’ expectations by trying out some of these tactics.