Meetings. You either love them or you hate them.
You know that a meeting is important for deploying valuable information. But do they have to be so utterly boring?
You’re probably thinking, “Well, it’s work! It’s not entertainment.” And you would be right in thinking that.
But a meeting is still a time for company members to come together. So we’re not just talking about mere entertainment.
We’re talking about engagement and peer-to-peer connection. Making your meetings more fun will increase participation overall.
Look at it like a sandwich. You add corporate with entertainment, to get a very satisfying corporate entertainment sandwich!
And you’ll no longer dread those awkward moments of silence from a meeting that’s poorly run. Business as usual doesn’t always mean a good thing.
In fact, changing things up can better help the ideas and creativity flow. Nowadays, there are plenty of creative tools to employ whether your meeting is in-person or virtual.
So, are you interested in starting off your morning meeting in a more interactive way? Keep reading below to find out how you can instill a little bit more fun into your discussions.
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#1. Ice breakers
You know those meetings where one person talks the whole time? They end up dominating the whole session while the rest of the company just listens and waits?
Try starting your meeting off with ice breakers to rid of this pattern. Ice breakers immediately get all team members engaged.
With all participants able to talk, everyone can start the meeting on an even playing field. Seems pretty nice, right?
But don’t worry about the ice breakers taking too long. You can easily set a time limit for how long each person talks.
You just want to encourage everyone to share a little tidbit about themselves. After all, this is a great way to incorporate team-building into an in-person or virtual meeting.
Consider factoring these ice breakers into your meeting agenda. That way, you’ll have allotted enough time for employees to get to know one another while still remaining productive.
Below are some examples of questions you can incorporate into the discussion. See how these ice breakers go over and notice if there are any changes to employees’ work behavior throughout the week:
- What is your favorite food?
- What is your favorite hobby?
- What kind of learner are you?
- What is your favorite part about your job?
- What kind of music do you like?
- What’s your ideal vacation day like?
- What TV series are you watching right now?
Some of these questions might seem more trivial than others. But engaging each employee to share a piece of themselves is a crucial part of any team-building activity.
Attendees’ answers might also surprise you. There may be connections made between colleagues.
Or, you might find that one of your employees has a hidden talent you can utilize within the company. Your meeting can be productive in a variety of ways.
So, encourage everyone to showcase who they are. Then, you’ll be ready to get down to business with a little more pep overall.
#2. Show and tell
Oftentimes, meetings lack personality. And not just personality from the host or whoever is in charge.
But the personality of the group. The key to a good working relationship is interpersonal connection.
And sometimes, that connection can be difficult to foster over video meetings. Try instituting a show and tell session for each of your meetings.
If you’re short on time, consider assigning one employee to show and tell per week. This way, you can start your meetings off on a fun note while still getting your colleagues to engage with one another.
Over time, the personality of the group can emerge through these moments. And this will help with both communication and collaboration within the office setting.
You might be thinking that show and tell is only for children. But it ultimately allows your colleagues to share a physical object with the group that is important to them.
You don’t have to ask your employees to be highly vulnerable. In fact, they can run with the idea in any direction they want.
But the ultimate goal is getting your colleagues to engage with one another. This way, they’ll be more comfortable sharing ideas in the workplace down the line.
#3. Play games
One way of making meetings fun is by factoring in team-building activities on the agenda. But what if you could play a game throughout the meeting while still remaining productive?
Below are some games that allow you to do exactly that. They’ll keep everyone engaged and on their toes throughout.
Do you want your employees to remain engaged? Well, having a treasure hunt is the perfect way to keep their eyes peeled.
Choose a symbol and incorporate it into your in-person or virtual meetings. It can be something as simple as a star or maybe even a pop culture icon like the Deathly Hallows symbol from Harry Potter.
Sneak this symbol in your presentation slides. Or, if you’re in a virtual meeting, drop it in the chat as an emoji.
At the end of the meeting, ask everyone how many times they saw the symbol. Then award winners and tell them what symbol to look out for at the next meeting.
For virtual meetings, some people prefer to keep their video call screen off. So incorporating a treasure hunt will ensure that they are actually paying attention, not listening to the meeting while washing dishes.
Encourage employees to come up with ideas about what symbol to use next. This way, everyone in the group can feel included and you won’t have to rack your brain for more symbols each week alone!
No, we’re not talking about the farmer who had a dog and Bingo was his name-o. We’re talking about the game people associate with older folks’ homes!
Okay, that probably still isn’t selling you on why you should play bingo during your next meeting. But playing with your remote team or in-person team will definitely not leave you feeling old.
Bingo is a great way to keep teams focused and make meetings more fun. Start by making a bingo board with action items to complete on it.
Throughout the meeting, people can cross off whatever task they accomplish or find. Then, whenever they get a full row, they can call out “bingo!” and break up the meeting with a little bit of fun.
Below are some action items to incorporate on your bingo sheet. Even try taking suggestions from employees and have them write you a note with an action item such as these:
For remote teams:
- “Can you hear me?”
- “Sorry, I was on mute”
- “Can everyone see my screen?”
- Saw a family member in someone else’s background
- Sent an article to a coworker in the chat
- Sent a gif to a coworker in the chat
- Saw a pet walk through someone else’s screen
- Wore pajama bottoms to the video call
- Create a workday playlist and share it with colleagues
For in-person teams:
- Took a bathroom break
- Took a coffee break… or two… or three
- Someone enters late
- Draw a doodle on your meeting agenda
- “Let’s circle back”
- “I’ll send a follow-up email”
- Someone checks their phone during the meeting
- Somebody brings treats for the meeting
The point of either of these games is to get your team members engaged. And this could be a better alternative if not every member of your team likes to talk.
Some participants simply are extroverts. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
But these games offer a fun and interactive opportunity that doesn’t require talking. Instead, they just require stealth sleuthing which makes the meeting all the more engaging.
This way, you can get down to business as usual. And you can rest assured that those pesky office meetings won’t also be boring as well.
#4. Create a fun Slack channel
Your company might not use Slack but this idea will definitely make you consider otherwise. Through the app, you can create different channels of communication.
One channel might be related to a specific work project. But another can be a whole thread about silly pictures of pets!
Online and remote teams need that extra layer of connection. And sometimes, there simply isn’t enough time in a meeting to make for such bonding.
But incorporating conversation channels is one of the best ways to make connections. You can run in a million different directions with ideas for communication threads.
In fact, below are some more suggestions:
On each of these channels, coworkers can share personal details about themselves. Whether it’s recipes, music, books, or TV shows, these channels will allow for more conversation than any one meeting ever could.
What this does for virtual meetings is replace in-person conversations that would happen otherwise. We all know meetings aren’t necessarily designed as a happy hour.
But that doesn’t mean the company culture itself can’t be fun. Your meeting might not be the place to make such changes.
But there are still plenty of ways in which you can foster online connection outside of meetings altogether. And you might come across some great new finds in the process.
Bonus: What is Comic Relief?
#5. Celebrate team wins
Meetings don’t have to be strictly business. They can also be a time to celebrate any team wins!
Acknowledging successes is a great way to boost morale within the group. And it encourages others to get more creative with their own office endeavors.
Everyone likes to be praised. So, create some time within your meetings to praise an employee who did particularly well one week.
But always be sure to include at least one team win. Individual praise is fine and dandy.
But it can lead to some jealousy down the line. So it’s up to you to remain ever the diplomat and make these fun meetings about the team as a whole.
Additionally, give attendees the chance to shout out other members of the group who ought to be recognized. You can’t know every move a member of your team makes.
But one colleague might have noticed something significant about their coworker. Shouting out encouragements from within the group gives participants the chance to support one another.
After all, a team is all about working together. So everyone should make it a point to give and receive praise where it’s deserved.
#6. Pass the baton
In-person and virtual meetings are often led by one person. But you know what would make meetings even more fun?
If the host would pass the baton every once in a while! Let people take over specific sections of the meeting.
This way, attendees won’t have to hear the same voice over and over again. They’ll get to engage with all of their colleagues taking the lead.
And this can foster a greater sense of collaboration. Consider giving attendees free rein of their own section.
This way, they are free to express their ideas fully. Sometimes, the most engaging and creative tools you have at your disposal are your employees.
And having them take over will also challenge them to step up as a leader as well. This could be particularly good for team members who struggle with decision-making.
A game or a mental challenge isn’t always the way to engage your colleagues. Sometimes, it takes colleagues stepping up their game in collaboration with others.
See you next time
The words “meeting” and “fun” do not often find themselves in the same sentence. But there are thousands of ideas out there to make your meeting more engaging and enjoyable.
Several companies are now working with strictly remote teams. And this means that their only connections are made through video calls or online text.
So utilize the suggestions in this article to help foster company bonds without holding a meeting in person. Soon enough, you may find that your colleagues actually look forward to the next time you all gather.
Let’s face it. Most people like to know the people that they’re working with. That’s where the real fun of working comes in.
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Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular comedian for corporate events, magician, and virtual speaker.