10 Interactive Meeting Ideas to Inspire Your Team
Statistics have suggested that businesses need to identify new and engaging meeting ideas because current approaches are ineffective and unproductive, in turn costing companies a fortune.
If your organization is like most, we’ve got some bad news: research has shown that it’s time you start looking for some new ideas for team meetings at work. According to a survey conducted by The Muse, unproductive meetings cost businesses $37 billion (yes, with a “b”) per year in the United States alone because:
- There are 25 million per day in the U.S., but…
- 92% of workers surveyed admit to spending this time multitasking and 49% say they do work that is completely unrelated to the topic at hand, and…
- Executives say they believe more than 67% of meetings are failures
These stats serve to reinforce the stigma that meetings are frequently boring, draining, and unproductive.
And when you add in the extra complication that many teams operate remotely and aren’t even able to connect in person (on that note, you might like this article we wrote on how to keep employees engaged when they’re working remotely), hosting meetings that are actually engaging can be even more challenging.
But considering that meetings, in some capacity, are by and large a necessary component of running an organization, the likelihood of eliminating them completely seems unrealistic. In fact, things like both virtual and in-person planning sessions, half-day or full-day meetings, and off-site company kick-off meetings are extremely valuable when done correctly. So, instead of writing them off completely, businesses should focus on finding ways to engage attendees and get the most out of their time together.
Here are ten cool meeting ideas to help you make your next virtual or in-person planning session, long meeting, or off-site company gathering a great experience for all.
5 Interactive Meeting Ideas for Virtual Teams
1. Implement a Little Gamification– If you’re looking for a quick way to beat the stigma that virtual meetings are boring and unproductive, mix things up with some gamification. Games are fun, so why not incorporate constructive ones into your meetings?
There are a ton of great virtual team building activities available to kick-start your meeting. We’d recommend something like:
- Virtual Code Break – If you want to get your group’s brains fired up before your meeting starts, you’ll love Code Break. This brainteaser activity challenges your team to think creatively and exercise problem-solving skills in order to complete puzzles, riddles, and trivia questions.
- Virtual Team Pursuit – Give your colleagues an added boost of confidence ahead of your meeting with this activity that helps them learn new things about each other by discovering their hidden strengths. This energetic activity involves breaking into virtual teams and competing to complete a long and exciting list of challenges, earning points along the way in hopes of being crowned champions.
- Virtual Game Show Extravaganza – Nothing gets people energized quite like a round of trivia. Kick-start your virtual meeting with a quick event that quizzes your group on everything from pop culture to sports, music, geography, world history, and more. Best of all, it might even inspire some outside-the-box ideas.
- Virtual Clue Murder Mystery – If you’re looking for a unique virtual team building activity, we recommend a murder mystery. You’ve probably never heard of a man named Neil Davidson but, with this online activity, your group will need to come together to solve the mystery of his murder using clues, case files, and logic to crack the case. Sometimes, taking your mind off one meeting can be the perfect segue into another.
- Virtual Holiday Hijinks – With Holiday Hijinks, you and your team can celebrate the holidays and blow off some steam and have a whole lot of laughs as your team breaks out into groups and races against the clock, competing to complete a list of holiday-themed cerebral, physical, and skill-based challenges
2. Help People Get to Know Each Other – Make your virtual meeting a little more impactful and engaging by taking the opportunity to help colleagues get to know each other on a deeper level. Doing so will not only help them collaborate and communicate more comfortably and efficiently in the meeting, but it will also offer long-term benefits as well.
We recommend using some fun and interactive icebreaker questions. You can check out this comprehensive list we compiled of The 164 Best Team Building Questions and Icebreakers for Meetings.
3. Make Your Materials More Interesting – Research has found that visuals in meetings can increase engagement by as much as 94% and can even help stimulate attention, retention of information, and interaction among participants.
So, rather than just talking at your virtual meeting guests, create some visuals that give context to your discussion or illustrate a point. This can be anything from a simple PowerPoint presentation to a video, depending on how much time you want to invest.
4. Get Some Blood Pumping – If you want to make sure your virtual meeting attendees are awake and alert, you can start your meeting off by warming up together (literally).
At the outset of the meeting, encourage your team to get up and take them through a few simple stretches and exercises.
This could include things like:
- Jumping jacks
- High knees
- Running in place
- Stretches like tricep stretches, overhead reaches, or torso stretches (for more, check out this awesome article from Healthline that offers up an extensive list of “deskercise” stretches)
5. Encourage Your Team to Use Fun Backgrounds – If you’re using a video conferencing platform like Zoom, your team can customize their backgrounds to be something fun.
The options are endless, but if you’re looking for some inspiration, you could choose:
The office from The Office
The burning room from the popular “this is fine” meme
The bridge from the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek
Central Perk from the show Friends
But it doesn’t just stop with images. You can even make video backgrounds — like the guy who made a genius video background of himself accidentally walking in on his video call.
This might seem small but it can be a great way to lighten the mood, get a few laughs out of people, and get people ready for the meeting to come.
5 Interactive Meeting Ideas for In-Person Teams
1. Get Insights from Your Team – If you want your employees to be engaged in your meetings, try getting their input and insight into what their ideal meeting would look like. You could send out a survey with a service like SurveyMonkey asking them what they would like to do or discuss for upcoming half-day or full-day meetings, planning sessions, company off-sites, or company retreats (for more on this, check out our free Online Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Planning the Ultimate Company Retreat).
This could include things like:
- Topics they’d like to cover and outcomes they’d like to achieve
- Venues or places they might want to go to
- Activities they’d like to partake in during the meeting
- People they’d like to recognize for a job well done
- Team, department, or company achievements they’d like to discuss with the group
- How they’d like information to be presented and discussed in meetings, such as verbal versus visual, and conversational versus one-directional
And if you’re looking for a hands-on workshop that can help you host more productive meetings, you might like our Effective Meetings training and development program. It can help your company’s leaders learn the five great reasons to meet, determine attendees’ roles, handle people who “hijack” meetings, identify what causes ineffective meetings, and control the attendance list.
2. Find an Awesome Meeting Space – If you want your meeting to be engaging, then there’s nothing quite like heading off-site to an inspiring venue. Not that there’s anything wrong with your boardroom or office meeting spaces but there’s nothing quite like a change of scenery to help your team feel engaged and motivated, and think a little differently. There are any number of places you can go for an off-site meeting, including:
- Hotel conference rooms
- Photo and video studios
- Outdoor spaces, weather permitting
We wrote a blog post that outlines some key considerations for picking venues. You might want to give it a read before you start planning your off-site meeting.
And for all the times when you do have in-house meetings, you might also want to consider making your office meeting spaces as inspiring as possible. If you’re looking for a resource that gives you some insight on how to do this, check out our guide: 50 Ways to Improve Your Office Environment.
3. Utilize “Grouping” to Create Engagement – When you stick your employees in a large group with no interaction or activity, it’s easy to see why they’d get bored and distracted – and find other ways to entertain themselves. That’s what makes “grouping” such a cool meeting idea.
To do this, introduce an overarching idea or subject to your team and then split them up into “breakout groups” to brainstorm and discuss it. This could be something like “blue sky ideas for how to attract new customers.” Give each group a pad of paper and some pens to keep track of their discussion. Then, reconvene with the full team to discuss the topic together. This will help create engagement in two ways – first, by having smaller teams collaborate on an idea and, secondly, by having each group participate in a larger discussion.
4. Make the Time Between Meetings Extra Engaging – A long day of sitting in meetings can get a little bit tough on the brain and the body. If you’ve got back-to-backs (to-back-to-backs), splitting up the day can help people re-energize between sessions. You can try activities like:
- Wild Goose Chase – Help your team get refreshed by getting outdoors for some fresh air with a Wild Goose Chase scavenger hunt. With this app-based activity, your team will head out into the city to explore, bond, and tackle fun photo and video challenges. Whether it’s for 20 minutes or an hour, it’s a great way to get your group reinvigorated and ready for your next round of meetings.
- Team Pursuit – If you’re looking for a way to re-energize between meetings, you’ll love Team Pursuit. With this high-energy activity, your group will break out into teams and compete through a series of mental, physical, skill, and mystery challenges. Together, they’ll have to utilize each other’s unique strengths and exercise their problem-solving skills if they want to be crowned the winners.
- Custom Events – If you’re looking for interactive activity ideas, we can customize events to meet your exact need. Just let us know what you’re looking for and our team of experts can help you find an activity that your team will love.
5. Help Colleagues Build Closer Bonds – Helping colleagues build stronger personal bonds has actually been proven to help create more successful business outcomes. So, facilitating an activity that lets them do so can pay off big time in the long run. We recommend an icebreaker team building activity like Getting to Know You where teammates will need to learn more about one another in order to complete photo and video challenges that require them to find people in the room who match specific criteria.
If you’ve got a packed schedule for the day and you’re short on time, we also offer a ton of express team building activities that can be done in an hour or less and can be a great way to squeeze some exciting gamification into your meeting agenda. For more, see our blog article on quick team building activities.
Can you think of any interactive meeting ideas we might’ve missed? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Let us know your favorites in the comments section below.
Learn More About Interactive Meeting Ideas for Your Work Group
For more information about cool meeting ideas that can help your group increase engagement and get more out of every meeting, just reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.