Have you ever had a bad meeting? You know, the meetings when you can feel your soul being crushed by the dullness as you wonder if you could slip out the door unnoticed? Or maybe you begin to multitask, paying more attention to your emails than the meeting itself, yet trying not to miss important nuggets along the way.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Successful meetings and events hold a lot of meaning and build connection among your team. Introducing a little fun into the mix will give your employees more to work with. And it doesn’t take a bunch of silly staff awards to make that happen.

Injecting more fun into your meetings won’t guarantee their success, but — if you do it right — it will help build connections between teammates. In a nutshell: making meetings more enjoyable will boost the engagement and experience for every attendee. (If you want to see how to boost engagement in other areas of your company – get a tour of the YouEarnedIt platform.)

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Here are 18 different ideas for engaging attendees by upping the fun factor in your next meeting.

Set the Tone in Advance

  1. If you have a larger meeting, use a top-ten list to your advantage. Send out a list of top ten reasons people should attend the meeting – and another of what they’ll miss out on if they don’t come.
  2. Make the agenda interesting, fun, and attention-grabbing. Don’t make it gimmicky – but you can inject some life into the actual meeting agenda copy. If you’re having a multi-presenter meeting, encourage presenters to use some fun or impactful titles, regardless of how serious their presentation is.
  3. Videos! With annual or user-meetings, create short, fun videos to post on your website that will serve as a teaser for your event.
  4. Send people a fun “How to Survive the Meeting” tip sheet. Keep it light, but include some snippets that will help put attendees’ minds at ease.
  5. Use a theme with care. Overused themes can move into the cliché category, often a turnoff. But a fresh, targeted theme can be truly memorable, inspiring, and fun. A useful catchphrase or appropriate theme can guide all your decisions about the event. Try using a thought-provoking or unusual question for your theme and ask all the presenters and attendees to arrive at the meeting with their best answer to the question. This also gives an instant icebreaker for meeting attendees.

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During the Meeting

  1. Use time to your advantage. Moving quickly on an agenda shows your attendees that you respect their time and expect them to stay engaged. It doesn’t sound fun, but keeping things moving keeps everyone on task.
  2. Look for opportunities to create meeting rituals and traditions. Traditions help bond people together. It might be a ritual to have a stuffed animal or other toy to show when the meeting is going off track. Or a wand to show who has the “mike” in the meeting.
  3. Include a fun trivia list or fun questionnaire for a larger sales or company meeting.
  4. For sales, user, or annual meetings, a great emcee can keep the energy, theme and fun flowing.
  5. Award a “Best Audience” prize to the group that demonstrates the best audience behavior.
  6. Award a prize for whoever can provide the fastest and most accurate summary of the meeting.
  7. Encourage presenters to do a 30-second dance or write a haiku summarizing their presentation.
  8. Use a fun theme song for what might otherwise be a boring meeting.
  9. Do a “word of the day” drinking game – whenever the presenter says a certain buzzword everyone in the audience takes an exaggerated sip from their water/coffee/tea.
  10. Put a headlamp on each table, so that if anyone wants to ask a question, they must put on the headlamp and turn on the light to show that they want to ask a question.

After the Meeting

  1. A fun post-event video helps remind attendees of the value they received from the event.
  2. Send out a humorous “top ten things we hope you learned from the meeting” list that intersperses funny highlights with some serious gems from the event.
  3. Give your team members a contest to come up with the best summary haiku of the action items.

As you can appreciate, there are an endless number of ways to inject a bit – or a lot – of fun into your meetings, without resorting to silly employee awards. Depending on the size and nature of your meeting, some of these ideas may be too “out there” for your next event. But with a little imagination and input from meeting attendees, there are countless simple things any meeting organizer can do to up the fun factor – while simultaneously giving employee engagement a boost, too.

About YouEarnedIt
YouEarnedIt is the employee experience platform powered by the science of motivation and the mission of improving the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time. Founded in 2013, YouEarnedIt grows company culture and improves bottom-line performance metrics through its robust engagement platform that delivers recognition, rewards, incentives, and team insights. Named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of Best Company Cultures in 2017, the Austin-based SaaS company and its technology platform are built on the four pillars of employee experience: connection, meaning, impact and appreciation. To request a demo, visit youearnedit.com/demo.

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