Fun Meetings: Confessions of the Planner of Too Many Boring Meetings

Posted by

As the instigator of many a boring team meeting, I’m here to say, meetings are more effective if everyone is awake, listening and participating! Sample some of the ideas below. Try out one or two at your next meeting. And to everyone who ever attended one of my boring meetings, I apologize, and thank you for staying awake.

  1. Create an energetic and positive meeting by … being energetic and positive. You set the tone. If you want friendly, upbeat and engaged, lead the way.
  2. Encourage participation early on. Give each participant 30 seconds to share by answering a quick question. Here are examples:
    • What’s something you’ve accomplished since the last meeting?
    • Who has helped you with something since the last meeting?
    • What’s one thing you’re looking forward to in the coming week?
    • What’s something interesting you’ve learned since the last meeting?


  3. Line the walls of the room with different problems for group members to solve, posed as “How can we …” statements, e.g., How can we improve service in XYZ area? Give group members a sticky pad, and invite them to roam the room, write ideas on their pads and stick them on the problem to which they apply.
    From: Seahawk Associates Inc.
  4. The response to a suggestion is always “yes, and …” and never “no, but ….” Keep things positive and ideas flowing by not putting down initial proposals. Or create a rule where when someone comes up with an idea, people have to say three things they like about it before any criticism. (You could enforce this by giving participants foam balls, and invite them to bombard the person who says no or voices early criticism to a suggestion.)
    From: and
  5. Bring in food. People look forward to snacks, lunch or donuts.  You could also use treats as a reward for participation … a trick used by many a professional speaker and teacher.

Whether your meeting is to update staff, drum up new ideas or solutions, or to make some big decisions and plan how to activate them, it doesn’t have to be boring. Mix it up. Provide good visuals, food, a change of venue, opportunities to move around and participate. Make your meetings a time when things get done … but also something people look forward to.

Agree? Disagree? Add your insightful comments here.