Meetings aren’t always something everyone looks forward to or are always fully engaged in — leaders included.
But meetings are spaces of intentional communication, so they are essential to our teams and organizations. If we want to move forward, grow and work well together, we need these scheduled times to meet together.
While planned meeting times may not be fun, this doesn’t mean they can’t be exciting and spur on a more high-performing team. Meetings offer leaders the opportunity to pour into their teams and provide their teams with the chance to do the same for them.
Much like a conversation, meetings should be a two-way street. When we discover a way to enliven and enhance our meeting interactions, we may be surprised at the advantageous results.
Here are six ways to make any meeting more engaging:
- Connect with everyone in the meeting. Find a way to acknowledge everyone in the room. You don’t need to have a 20-minute conversation, but a simple “How was your weekend?” or “How was your vacation?” is a way to take interest in everyone in the room.
- Celebrate wins and acknowledge efforts. Highlight team players who have recently succeeded in their role, or perhaps worked hard on a project that wasn’t able to reach completion. This is a simple way to acknowledge each individual and use meeting spaces to develop a culture of affirmation.
- Engage in intrinsic motivation. Motivation can either be intrinsic or extrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is driven by tangible rewards and acknowledgments. Intrinsic motivation is intuitive. It is a personal motivation that comes from within, compelled by an individual’s desire to perform well. While we can’t offer an incentive for every job well done, taking time to recognize the value of intrinsic motivation is something we can do.
- Remember special occasions. Keep track of special events such as birthdays and significant work anniversaries to celebrate your team. Use birthdays as a chance to bring in cake or cupcakes to a meeting. Maybe your team is so large it’s more efficient to celebrate birthday months. Either way, these are great opportunities to build morale and community.
- Always innovate. Innovation isn’t only essential for a company’s success, but it is vital to keep the atmosphere invigorated and alive. Continually make space for you and your team to think outside the box. A practice like this will help your organization more easily participate in meetings and continue to think about ideas well beyond them.
- Keep your sessions interactive. Rarely does a team want to be lectured for an hour. The average attention span is rapidly diminishing. A study by Microsoft found that the average attention span is eight seconds — shorter than the attention span of a goldfish. This doesn’t mean we should continue to assume people will have shorter and shorter attention spans. But we should be aware that after a few minutes, people’s minds will begin to wander. Finding a way to mix it up will keep your team engaged.
Meetings should be productive, but they should also feel relaxed and fun. If you want your team to bring their best to these times, you must create a space where they can feel free and excited to do so.
Weekly, monthly or annual meetings may not naturally be the most enticing elements of work. But any time you switch up the format, you may be surprised how easily you can gain your team’s attention. When you can enhance your team’s culture and engage them, you may find your meetings are more efficient and productive.