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11 Opening Reflections For Productive Work Meetings in 2024

An inspired team is a productive and motivated team. Explore 11 ways to start your meetings with inspiration.

By Hannah Sheehan  •   March 14, 2022  •   7 min read

According to Dede Henley, CEO of Henley Leadership Group, “if you take the time — and it does require an investment of time and energy — to inspire your team, people will be more willing to take risks, to share half-baked ideas, to tell the truth when they’ve made a mistake and to lean into one another when the going gets rough.” 

Starting your meetings with an inspirational opening creates a motivated team and fosters productivity and efficiency. So, follow along to discover 11 inspiring openings to try in your next meeting!

Why is it important to start meetings with inspirational openings?

The start of the meeting sets the tone for the meeting as a whole. If your meeting starts poorly—for example, with low energy and participation—this tone will likely continue throughout the entire meeting. So, beginning with an inspirational opening ensures high energy and motivation, and a productive meeting as a result. 

Keep your team inspired in meetings from beginning to end

A great meeting is more than just an inspiring opener. Keep your attendees focused and engaged the entire time with Fellow. It syncs with your calendar and allows you to keep your notes and agenda side by side in your meeting calls, so every meeting is a great one.

11 inspirational ways to start your meetings and engage your team 

1 Celebrate wins

Starting your meetings by celebrating wins is a great way to set a positive tone right from the start. Encourage each attendee to share one win from the last week, whether it’s work or non-work related. Celebrating these wins together also serves as a bonding experience with your team members and helps form relationships. 

Additionally, according to Forbes, “recognizing both the large and smaller accomplishments of teams and individuals encourages them to continue to strive and reminds them that leadership values their contributions.”

2 Share a motivational quote 

Sharing a motivational quote leaves your team members with something positive and motivating to think about. According to Inventionland, “Motivational quotes offer short and sweet passages that we can build bigger ideas off of to pull our thoughts together.”

Here are 10 motivational quotes to mention during your next meeting, according to The Positivity Blog:

  • “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell
  • “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
  • “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” – George Lorimer
  • “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
  • “Developing a good work ethic is key. Apply yourself at whatever you do, whether you’re a janitor or taking your first summer job because that work ethic will be reflected in everything you do in life.” – Tyler Perry
  • “The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Do more than is required. What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile.” – Gary Ryan Blair
  • “It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
  • “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourselves.” – Chanakya
  • “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills

3 Do a fun ice-breaker 

Ice-breakers are a great way to open meetings in an inspiring way, since they create a positive environment and encourage team building. According to Brian Scudamore, Founder and CEO of O2E Brand, team-building “builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line.”

Here are 10 ice-breakers to try at your next meeting:

  • What are your hobbies outside of work?
  • What does your perfect day off look like?
  • Who is your favourite artist?
  • What is your favourite genre of music?
  • Where have you travelled to?
  • If you could meet any historical figure, who would you meet?
  • If you could live in another generation, which one would you choose?
  • What is your favourite food?
  • Would you rather be able to teleport or time travel?
  • Would you rather go to space or get to travel the world for free for a year?

Fellow’s Remote Team Meeting Template comes pre-populated with a designated section to start the meeting by breaking the ice, and also provides a detailed structure for the rest of the meeting. The Remote Team Meeting Template is just one of over 500 that you can customize for your teams needs with Fellow.

4 Discuss a podcast

Discussing podcasts can be a great way to inspire your team and start on a positive note. Have your team listen to the podcast before coming to the meeting so time isn’t wasted and so everyone’s prepared to contribute to the discussion. 

Here are four inspiring podcasts to try discussing with your team:

5 Share something that has recently inspired you

Sharing your own inspirations can help inspire others on your team. So, start your meeting by sharing something that has recently inspired you, and then ask if anyone else wants to share something that has inspired them. If this exercise goes well for your team, consider implementing it in future meetings.

If another team member has been inspiring you, this is also a great opportunity to praise and motivate them. For example, you may be inspired by a busy parent who’s working while caring for their family, or a student who’s studying and working at the same time. Whatever they may be doing to inspire you, letting them know will motivate them to keep up the good work and will help create positive relationships between team members.

6 Show the positive outcomes of your team’s work

We do so much in a week. We go from one task to the next and continue this cycle until the end of the day. Then the next day, we wake up and repeat this cycle. However, sometimes we move through tasks so quickly that we don’t stop and see these tasks’ value. So, a great way to start your meetings in an inspirational and motivating way is to showcase the positive outcomes of your team’s work.

For example, if you have writers on your team, show them how much engagement their content has gotten and how that has positively affected the company. Or, if your team recently finished a project, show them the positive ramifications of that work. At the end of the day, if your team can see that what they’re doing has positive outcomes, they’ll be more motivated to continue giving their work their all. 

“Beyond appreciation and praise, show your respect and admiration for the work of your employees.” – Glenn Llopis, Entrepreneur and Author. 

7 Ask a powerful question 

Powerful questions will get your team thinking about their impact and help motivate them. For example, if you ask, “how did you make a difference in the last 24 hours?” your team members will be forced to self-evaluate their work and the positive outcomes. 

Here are four powerful questions to inspire your team:

  • What motivates you to come to work each day?
  • What are some of your personal goals this year?
  • How do you know that you’ve had a productive day?
  • What would you like to spend more time on?

8 Share a short motivational video

Like a motivational quote, a motivational video will leave your team feeling empowered. So, begin your meetings by sharing a short motivational video. Or, if there’s a longer video you want to show your team, have them watch it before the meeting so it doesn’t take up too much time. 

Here are four motivating videos to share with your team:

Pro tip: with Fellow, you can embed video links directly into your meeting agenda! No more juggling tabs!

9 Invite a guest speaker

Having a guest speaker provides some insight is a great way to open your meetings on an inspiring and motivating note. Your guest speaker will be able to offer their fresh perspective to your meeting attendees, and this new perspective offers new ideas and has the potential to spark creativity. 

Here’s a list of guest speakers that you may consider inviting:

  • Motivational speakers
  • CEOs of companies
  • Upper management 
  • Thought-leaders 

10 Share a recent learning

Sharing recent learnings is a great way to open your meetings in an inspiring way. For example, sharing a new stat or company insight with your team may help motivate them to keep up the hard work. Whether your team hit a new milestone or discovered how to gain more online traffic, sharing these exciting learnings is sure to set a positive tone and be motivating. 

11 Go back in time

Nothing is more rewarding than seeing the progress and growth you’ve made as a team. So, to open your meetings in an inspiring way, take a trip down memory lane and share how far your team has come.

To motivate your employees, you can share individual growth (the improvement that each team member has made since they started), or team growth (what the team has accomplished along the way).

Parting advice

An inspiring opener is a great way to start any meeting and keep your team engaged, but you want to ensure your team stays motivated and attentive from the opener to the closing remarks. Once your collaborative meeting agenda is set up, Fellow does the rest of the work. Its AI meeting copilot records, transcribes, and summarizes your meetings from start to finish, and generates key discussion points, decisions, and action items just based on the meeting recording. This means you don’t have to interrupt a great conversation by trying to take notes or assign tasks at the same time; Your team can stay engaged and inspired the entire time. Try Fellow for free today and receive 300 free minutes of AI transcriptions.

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