Tired of Boring Meetings? Inject Energy With These 4 Tips

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You've done it. You've called another meeting. While it may be an important topic you’re covering, it can still be a challenge to spark your team’s energy and get them fully invested. Even if you prepare a tight agenda and have the right people in the room, it can still lead to stilted conversation and phone-checking instead of dynamic interaction.

What does it take to engage your team, drawing them emotionally into the meeting? This work is important, so how do you get your colleagues to bring their best? Here are a few straightforward tips to bring a higher level of engagement to meetings.

1. Movement

Have you been in an extended meeting where the facilitator senses the total lack of energy after a couple hours and asks everyone to get up and stretch? Do not do this. It shows you have given up. You've tipped your hand that you are comfortable being banal and that you've decided to plow through the meeting at the expense of everyone's well-being. Instead, engage the attendees into movement by the natural course of the meeting. Give everyone sticky notes to write ideas down and have them put the notes on a board. Or anytime there is a change of topic, ask that the person initiating the change must stand. There are dozens of ways to engage movement that are natural and energizing instead of being a reminder of the poor decisions in their life that led them to this point.

2. Competition

Try short term or long-term competition to spruce up the energy level. In a brainstorming session, have the team vote on who contributed most valuably. You can also "gamify" meetings so individuals collect points by interjecting key phrases or incorporating song lyrics into the conversation most effectively. Yes, take the work seriously, but have a lighthearted approach to controlling the meeting so participants are comfortable and more apt to be their authentic selves. With long term goals, give gift cards or bonuses to those individuals that set and attain monthly and quarterly goals, generate helpful new ideas, or to those that help others the most throughout a given time period of meetings.

3. Group Work

Divide and conquer in your meetings. Did you know that the biggest determining factor in how high someone ranks an interaction is the amount of time they spoke? We really are selfish creatures. Use this to your advantage. Put out topic cards based on the agenda of the meeting. Then allow people to form small groups to discuss the topic. Come back together as a larger group to discuss. You'll notice engagement and energy levels are up.

4. Food and Drink

This is an old stand by, but for good reason. Tacos for breakfast meetings or an interesting lunch (try to avoid Jason's Deli box lunch if at all possible) will bring more people out as well as activate their senses. Also try a mid-afternoon snack surprise. Yogurt parfaits or chips and dip at that 2:30 review session are welcome friends. Simple gestures like this let everyone know you are thinking about their well-being and in return, are expecting some high-value contributions to the meeting.

And of course, the most important part of injecting energy into your meetings is that you as the facilitator bring a high level of energy. Set the right tone by bringing enthusiasm, employ a few of these tips and tricks, and watch your team meetings take off. Happy meeting!