Business meetings, by their very nature, are often not the most engaging of experiences. Most workers drag their feet as they head to meetings, dreading the hours of lecturing ahead. Energize your business meetings by adopting a theme for each one and building the content around that theme. A fun idea might lead workers to actually smile as they leave their cubicles. If your idea keeps them from watching the clock and doodling on reports, consider the theme a winner.
Focus on the Future
As you prepare to take steps to move your business into the future, plan a future-focused meeting to announce the changes. If your company is in the process of adopting new technology, make technology in general the theme of your meeting. Designate a portion of the meeting as show-and-tell. During this chunk of the agenda, those in the know about technology can show some of the cool things that the new technology will offer. Add some fun to your techie gathering by outfitting the room with contemporary video games and similar technologies for workers to try. Encourage your colleagues to think outside the box by holding an “Innovation Initiative” meeting. In the weeks leading up to the gathering, encourage workers to suggest innovation ideas to improve your business. At the meeting, announce which idea or ideas you have chosen to adopt.
Holding a meeting for the express purpose of motivating your workers is never a bad idea. For a meeting of this type, try a theme like “In it to Win It.” Reflect the theme by peppering games through the meeting and offering employees small prizes for besting their co-workers. Similarly, try a sports-themed meeting, complete with sports trivia or mini-versions of popular sports games at which workers can try their hand.
When their noses are to the grindstone and they're busy toiling away, it's easy for workers to feel as if they're in it alone. Let them know this isn’t the case by holding teamwork-themed meetings. Try a “We are All In” themed meeting using playing cards as decoration in a clever nod to going “all in” in poker. For a workforce with creative energy, have colleagues celebrate their unity by providing them rectangles of fabric and having them decorate them as departmental flags. Hang the finished pieces around the office as a reminder of your workforce unity.
All work and no play makes your workers dull boys and girls. While you don’t want to waste too much time in the workplace with random fun, having a playfully themed meeting from time to time can be just the thing your tired workers need to invigorate them. Try, for example, a movie-themed program in which you use movie titles as your topic headings on your meeting agenda. You could use "Back to the Future" as the heading for a review of last quarter's earnings and study the future fiscal projections as a play on the time-travel theme of this classic film. Carry the theme through to the end by giving employees bags of microwave popcorn and candies to take home with them as a way to encourage them to take a much-needed break from the rigors and worries of work.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.