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How to Plan Motivational Meetings for Your Employees

by | Oct 10, 2016 | Management

For most employees in the corporate world, the word “meetings” sends a slight shiver up their back. Meetings have developed a negative connotation over the past several years for their often ineffectiveness and boring atmosphere. In fact, many studies show that they can do more harm than good for company culture.

A study by the American Psychological Association, for example, found that employees that are task-oriented (meaning they thrive on checking items off their to-do list) experienced the most negative effects from bad meetings. This can be particularly damaging from a business standpoint if your most productive employees are feeling angry or annoyed from the regular, unproductive meetings.

Nevertheless, sometimes meetings are necessary to have a group conversation, brainstorm, and/or inform employees about what’s going on in their department. We think the best kind of meeting is one where your employees walk out feeling motivated and inspired to do a good job and forward company progress. Here are some tips for making your next meeting a powerhouse–and turning meeting-haters into meeting-lovers.

Send Out the Agenda with the Invite

Get employees pumped and prepared for your meeting from the start. If you’re just sending out a meeting invite with no additional information, recipients are probably thinking, “Why do I even need to be there?” They’ll still accept the invite, though, because they don’t want to challenge management or appear lazy, but they’ll feel like they’re being dragged into the meeting room.

Before you even click send, write up a detailed agenda of what topics the meeting will be covering. Be sure to note the individuals that you want presenting each topic so they can prepare in advance. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a meeting and being asked to talk about something on the spot. Depending on the person, they may like some time before the meeting to think about what they will say and how they will say it.

If part of your meeting will be about brainstorming ideas, it’s also a good idea to give meeting attendees the opportunity to think up ideas ahead of time. A great way to do this is to create a Google Doc for each brainstorming topic. Then invite those people that you want input from as the contributors. Below is a quick tutorial on how to set up a group Google Doc.

  1. Login to your Google Drive using your Gmail account. If you don’t already have one, it’s easy to set it up here.
  2. In Google Drive, you can create a folder titled “Brainstorming”, or whatever you prefer.
  3. Click on the folder, and in the top left corner click on the blue button click “New” and select “Google Docs.”
  4. The doc will automatically open and you can give it a name in the top left corner.
  5. To invite people to collaborate in the doc, click on the “Share” button in the top right corner. You can manually add email addresses for the people you want to share it with and select what permissions you want them to have. For the purpose of a brainstorming document, you probably want to select “Can edit”. You can also allow people to only view the document or comment on the document.
  6. Another option to share this with your meeting attendees is to click “Get Shareable Link” at the top right corner of the Share box. From here, you can again choose what permissions you want people to have, then click “Copy link”. Now, whoever you send this link to will be able to collaborate on the document. I personally like this method more than manually adding every person.

Keep Meetings Short and Sweet

Especially if you’re having meetings on a regular basis, long meetings can end up being unproductive and a big waste of time. Focus on narrowing down the agenda so that the meeting is about 15 minutes in length. (Wait–15 minutes!?)

Yes, you heard that right. People naturally have short attention spans which means that even if you drag out the meeting, they probably won’t be absorbing much information.

Now, you’re probably thinking that 15 minutes is nowhere near the amount of time you will need. Before you say no, though, think about ways that you can go over things on the meeting agenda more quickly and efficiently.

For example, instead of going through and entire Powerpoint presentation, just write out the main points on a whiteboard or easel pad.

Also, by allowing your attendees to mentally prepare for the meeting and brainstorming topics ahead of time (be sending out the agenda with the meeting invite) you’ll be surprised how much faster your meeting can go.

I invite you to at least try a 15-minute meeting once and see how it goes. Set a timer when the meeting starts and see how much has been accomplished when the timer goes off.

Pro Tip: Ask meeting attendees to leave their phone outside the room. While this may be a minor annoyance for them in the beginning, they’ll realize halfway in that they are absorbing more information and have more ideas to contribute to the conversation.

Share the Company Goals

If you want employees to help your company grow, they have to first be aware of where your company wants to go. Meetings are a great way to communicate your business goals to employees because you have their direct attention.

Set aside time in each meeting to review where the company is now, how it is progressing, and where you want it to go. You’d be surprised how just awareness of these goals can be a big motivator for employees.

Explain their Importance

Along with communicating the company goals, you also want to make it known how crucial each employee is in achieving those goals. Humans naturally want to feel wanted and needed, and as a manager this is one of your primary duties.

During meetings, point out how each attendee has skills that are valuable. This doesn’t have to be done all at once, but look for ways to incorporate it into the meeting topics.

For example, if you are talking about how the company is really trying to define its brand image, you could say, “Anna you have such great design skills and an intuition about what looks right for our brand, so I would definitely like for you to focus on this.”

Instead of just hitting Anna with a new responsibility, we are praising her talents and relating them to the task at hand.

Structure Brainstorming

This is where sending out the brainstorming Google Docs ahead of time will come into play. Hopefully you have sent the Docs out far enough in advance to give the attendees some time to come up with ideas and add them.

During the meeting, bring up the Google Docs on a presentation screen or print out the docs and hand them out. Now, instead of wasting time brainstorming in the meeting room (and likely generating subpar ideas) you’ll have a whole list of thought out ideas to discuss as a team.

I would suggest going through each idea and having the person who added it give more of an explanation. If you and the rest of the team like particular ideas, simply mark which ones you would like to pursue more.

After the meeting, you can create a more structured plan for putting the ideas into action. If possible, try to involve the person who came up with the idea in its execution. Being able to follow an idea from start to finish can be a really rewarding process for employees.

Over To You

Start implementing short, organized, and effective meetings and see how much more engaged your employees are. Have another idea for making meetings motivational? Comment below and let us know!

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