Whew, meetings. They can be quite the snooze-fest, can’t they? But what if meetings didn’t have to be so boring? What if they could actually be productive and even… dare I say it… fun? Ideally, all meetings should be fun meetings where everyone is engaged and an active participant and where your teammates and colleagues leave feeling glad you all met!
Benefits of efficient meetings
Before we discuss ways to encourage active participation in meetings, let’s answer the ‘Why meet?’ question. Few things are worse work-wise than the meeting that could have been an email, so make sure you’re clear on why people are being asked to meet live. A good gut check: if it doesn’t fall under one of these categories, it’s probably best to send an email.
- Build relationships and trust: Meetings are an opportunity to build connections and rapport among team members. This can be particularly important in teams where members work less closely together on a daily basis or in a hybrid work environment.
- Foster collaboration: It’s easy to get stuck in a silo when working remotely and predominately independently. Meetings can help inspire the community by bringing team members together to discuss ideas, solve problems, make decisions, and get different perspectives. They’re an ideal scenario to create pipelines across bodies of work and identify areas of synergy.
- Provide a forum for feedback: Meetings can provide a forum for feedback and constructive criticism, which can help team members improve and grow.
8 ways Hubspot encourages active participation in meetings
Now that you have a clear understanding of why you need to meet, let’s talk about the best ways to encourage active participation. Here are 8 tips Hubspot uses to support engagement to make sure everyone is involved in each meeting:
- Set clear objectives and expectations
- Assign roles
- Use inclusive language
- Start with a joke or icebreaker
- Provide snacks
- Encourage active listening
- Use visuals
- Follow up
1Set clear objectives and expectations by having a meeting agenda
It’s important to set clear objectives and expectations upfront. Let everyone know what the purpose of the meeting is, why they’re there, and what you hope to achieve. Having a meeting agenda will help attendees come prepared and ready to contribute. With Fellow, you can create a shared meeting agenda and edit notes simultaneously.
Run efficient meetings, come to a decision, and get back to work
Level up your meeting habits to boost engagement and productivity with a collaborative meeting agenda. Try a tool like Fellow!
Meeting roles can include—but are not limited to—the timekeeper, notetaker, and facilitator. By giving everyone a specific role, you create a sense of accountability and ownership in the meeting. This helps drive active participation and collaboration.
3Use inclusive language
Using inclusive language can make everyone feel welcome and valued in the meeting. Avoid using exclusive terms and, instead, use phrases like “we” and “our” to create a sense of teamwork and collaboration. This will encourage everyone to participate and feel like they are part of the conversation and the outcome.
4Start with a joke or icebreaker
Nothing loosens up a group like a good joke. Start your meeting off with a humorous icebreaker that will get people laughing and feeling comfortable. Try to make it relevant to the meeting’s topic, or at least something most people can relate to. For example, if you’re meeting to discuss a new marketing campaign, you could say something like, “Why did the marketer go to the bank? To get his campaign approved!” (Okay, maybe it’s not the funniest joke, but you get the idea.)
“If you feed them, they will come.” Let’s face it; people love snacks. Offer some tasty treats to munch on. Not only will this keep people from getting “hangry” and losing focus, but it also gives them something to do with their hands while they’re listening. Plus, who doesn’t love a good snack break? Just make sure to choose snacks that aren’t too messy or distracting. If the meeting is virtual or hybrid, make it BYOS (Bring Your Own Snack). You could even provide an UberEats or InstaCart credit when budgets allow you to provide the snacks for them from afar.
6Encourage active listening
Active listening is an important skill that can encourage collaboration in meetings. Encourage everyone to listen actively to each other and ask questions to clarify understanding. Make sure you’re modeling this behavior by not looking at your phone or checking Slack messages during the meeting. This will help create an open dialogue and ensure that everyone’s ideas are heard and considered.
People are more likely to participate if they can see what you’re talking about. Use visuals like charts, icons, graphs, and slides to illustrate your points and make the meeting more engaging. Or, try using funny memes or gifs to lighten the mood and make people laugh. Just be careful not to go overboard and turn the meeting into a full-blown meme fest.
With Fellow, you can embed media directly into your meeting notes to avoid switching between tabs. When you embed media into a Fellow note, the media will be directly inserted into the body of the note. Once embedded, you’ll be able to interact with the media in the same way you would on the main website. For example, if you embed a YouTube video, you’ll be able to play the YouTube video without ever leaving your note.
After the meeting, follow up with attendees to reinforce the importance of their active participation and collaboration. Share the meeting notes and follow up on any action items or decisions that were made. This will help ensure everyone is on the same page and that the meeting ends on a productive note, encouraging active participation and collaboration in future meetings.
Remember, not all meetings are created equal. So while these tips may help you, it’s still important to be nimble, flexible, and responsive to the needs of your team and projects. There’s incredible value in asynchronous meetings as well as tapping into different work productivity tools to collaborate across teams. But with a little planning and effort, hosting a live work meeting can still be a great way to keep your team engaged, motivated, and working together towards a common goal. So don’t be afraid to schedule that next meeting—your team will thank you for it!