If your team dreads attending meetings, it means they’re being poorly run. Meetings can actually be fun if the right thought and planning goes into them. Boring meetings are often a waste of time and therefore hinder your team’s productivity. The ineffectiveness of your meetings can and should be transformed so that you and your team can actually look forward to getting together to share ideas, information and innovate together. Research actually shows that team-building interventions are effective and have a positive effect on the perceptions and attitudes of team members (Tannenbaum et al., 1992). In a recent article about work-team effectiveness and on the importance of team relationships, psychologist Steve Kozlowski shares:
“Teams are at the core of how work is accomplished in business, medicine, science, the military, and sports—in virtually all human pursuits. On any given day, we each interact with teams to get things accomplished in our workplaces. We engage with other teams (in their workplaces) as we buy food, seek medical care, or fly across the globe. People collaborating and working together accomplish the mundane (i.e., buying a fast-food burger) to amazing feats (i.e., sending astronauts into orbit) that characterize modern life.”Kozlowski, 2017, p. 205
Fellow is here to guide you through how to bring your team closer together, by making meetings fun again. Here, we provide you with more interactive and dare I say fun practices to incorporate into your team discussions. Keep reading to learn about how to encourage creativity, engage team members and foster an environment that drives collaboration. Without further adieu, here’s how to make meetings fun:
6 Ways to Make Your Meetings Fun and Engaging
1 Ice breakers
Ice breakers are a great way to open a meeting, especially for remote teams. There are all kinds of ice breaker activities but what they all have in common is that they serve to make everyone feel comfortable, engaged and included. A good ice breaker is typically a question or an activity. When you’re tight on time, try using ice breaker questions for virtual meetings and when you’re not in a rush, use the latter.
- What is your favourite snack/ food?
- How do you like to receive key information?
- What’s your favorite part of your job — and why?
- What’s your favorite hobby?
- Turn on some music, and get the whole team moving for a dance party (this is also really effective virtually!)
- Ask everyone to think of one amazing meal they’ve had lately, describe it to the team, and then share the recipes later so that everyone can enjoy and try something different
- Ask everyone to share one TV series or movie recommendation. With a lot of us working remotely, we’re always on the hunt for the next binge-worthy series!
Show-and-tell isn’t just for children. It encourages people to showcase their personality and things that are important to them! Whether your colleagues want to talk about their work or their hobbies, it’s a great opportunity for individuals to work on their presentation skills in a creative way. If you’re tight for time, consider assigning one person, per weekly meeting. This provides a great opportunity to get to know one another better, fostering stronger interpersonal relationships with a means to connect over things that aren’t work related. Often, we don’t even know what people do outside of the office! Getting to know one another on a more personal level is going to foster a more genuine relationship.
3 Let people take ownership
If your team may not be as enthused about taking part in activities or games, consider organizing your meeting in a more creative way, that will include everyone. Let people own specific sections of the meeting, letting them know ahead of time, of course. This way, you don’t have to listen to the sound of your own voice for the duration of the meeting! If you feel that you may need to deliver the entirety of the meeting, consider rotating timekeeper or the note keeper roles. This promotes engagement and is a great opportunity for individuals of all levels to help out with more administrative roles.
4 Celebrate team wins
Celebrate team wins! It’s important that you highlight your team’s accomplishments and show your colleagues that their contributions are valuable to the organization. By giving some praise, you are going to further motivate your team to continue performing at a high standard and encourage them to want to hit goals and milestones. This doesn’t necessarily mean giving individual praise (although there is nothing wrong with giving some well-deserved congratulations!) because often it takes collaboration to accomplish goals. Get specific about the team wins, reviewing and emphasizing metrics. This is also a good opportunity to talk about the next milestones that you are collectively working towards.
5 Encourage shoutouts
Dedicate a section of the meeting agenda for people to add shoutouts for their colleagues (i.e., thanking people for their help that week). Shoutouts are a great way to lift team spirits and encourage collaboration. Making team members feel seen and heard (especially from a remote setting) is important, because these individuals may not realize the weight of their impact and efforts. This is another practice that is going to drive encouragement for team members to continue making the effort to go above and beyond for their colleagues, promoting better communications, more collaboration and fostering better workplace relationships in general.
6 Play an online game
For fully remote teams, playing an online game is a great way to engage everyone and focus on something a little more light than the usual organizational discussions. Trivia games such as Kahoot are a great option to engage the team, get individuals to work together and have some fun. There are tons of options to choose from and you can even ask your team members to take turns selecting a game that they may have already tried and enjoyed. Many games actually encourage us to use skills that are valuable at work, such as our critical thinking abilities, creativity, strategizing, and attention to detail. This is a great opportunity for team members to use their different and unique skills, to come together in a fun but somewhat competitive environment.
The Importance of Making Meetings Fun
We attend a lot of meetings, so wherever we can, we may as well make them more fun and more enjoyable for everyone involved. Boring meetings can be no more- we have so many tools and technologies at our disposal to engage our teams in more effective and entertaining ways. Team-based work, such as the practices that we have provided in this article leads to improvements in organizational performance, in terms of efficiency and quality (Klein et al., 2009). Watch your team thrive as you engage these best practices for more fun meetings.
Because many of us work remotely, it is especially important for us to engage in team-building or bonding opportunities with our team members. There is no issue with working independently or individually, but the reality is, if we were in the office, we would be engaging a lot more with one another. Collaboration is important- listening and understanding alternative approaches, views and perspectives enriches our own understanding and provides valuable learning opportunities. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to share it with a friend or a colleague. As always, it’s a pleasure to see you on the Fellow blog. Until next time!