Is your Monday morning team meeting lacking morale? Or perhaps your Friday team touch base gets a bit too off topic or disorderly. Either way, conducting meetings when your team is inattentive can be tricky and a huge waste of precious work hours. Running proactive, focused meetings can make the difference between a collaborative team and a siloed one. Here are a handful of tips to make your meetings run more smoothly and to keep your team happy during even the most stressful periods. 

10 ways to conduct a positive meeting

1 Use a creative meeting agenda

Agendas are key to staying on track during important meetings. As the meeting organizer, you should strive to keep participants engaged by changing it up every now and then with creative meeting agenda templates. Perhaps the best format for your weekly touch base at the beginning of the month is a project status update where attendees can reflect on team accomplishments, but at the end of the month, you may prefer a roundtable format to discuss the objectives you’re still working towards. Regardless of the format you choose, aim to send out the agenda at least 24 hours in advance. You can also check out our meeting agenda template gallery to find an agenda format that will help you and your team focus on what matters most. 

Meetings worth showing up to

A well-run meeting can foster communication and collaboration by including an agenda the whole team can contribute to. Try using a tool like Fellow! 

2 Make it fun

Hear us out: icebreakers and team building can and should be fun! If you’re doing them right, your attendees will voluntarily participate in the activities and brainstorming sessions at your meeting. Be sure to cater your icebreakers to your team by asking them what they’ll actually enjoy. For example, if your team is full of extroverts who love to chat, challenge them to ask each other some of our 60+ icebreaker questions for virtual meetings so everyone can get to know each other. If you have quieter individuals on your team, it may be best to place your team into smaller breakout groups so they’re able to chat one-on-one with each other. You can also make meetings special by celebrating milestones at work with shoutouts, food, and games! 

3 Start with inspiration 

You don’t have to begin every meeting with a cheesy quote, but starting off on an inspirational note can set the right tone. Start your next team meeting by celebrating wins, asking a powerful question, having a guest speaker say a few words, or discussing a podcast or video that moved you. Have each member of your team share what inspires them, or give them the opportunity to discuss the positive outcomes of a past group project. Sharing some words about your team’s positive impact will leave them feeling ready to collaborate during and after the meeting. For more ideas, check out our 11 inspirational meeting openings to engage your team

4 Design the meeting around people’s strengths

Maybe you notice that your team seems more fatigued during meetings in the afternoons, or that attendees are less likely to speak up during calls on a Friday. Play to your team’s strengths by scheduling your meetings at a time that works for everyone’s workflow. If you have a team full of enthusiastic communicators, it’s likely best that you give the group a chance to ask their questions and brainstorm together. If your team is thoughtful but on the timid side, make sure they have some time afterwards to reflect and maximize their creative thinking. 

5 Reward your team with growth opportunities

If you notice individuals who are excelling in areas like collaboration, delegation, or helping others, reward them with growth opportunities. For example, ask the person to lead a kickoff meeting for the next exciting group project or to facilitate a team-building activity. If a team member expresses their interest in working on a task that’s outside of their scope of expertise, provide them with tools and learning opportunities to work through the challenge. Remember, an enthusiastic employee is a coachable one! Reward enthused employees with growth opportunities and watch their productivity soar. 

6 Finish with a peak

Even if the meeting was called to deliver bad news or to give constructive feedback, you should never end a meeting without sharing the positives as well. Try to avoid ending on a bad note. For example, if your team has been underperforming in one specific area, take some time during the meeting to brainstorm how they can use their strengths to improve moving forward. You can say something like, “I know we’re all eager to get this project back on track, so let’s work on some strategies to get this excellent team working together again.” Your team should know that you’re confident in their ability to complete a task well. Finish the meeting with a peak that acknowledges their strengths!

7 Try “stand-up” meetings

If you intend for your meeting to be short and sweet, consider a “stand-up” meeting. These meetings should be kept to 15 minutes or less and are held standing up. The point of a “stand-up” meeting is to keep your team aligned and focused on the same goals. You should use this time to go over important tasks that are finished, in progress, or about to begin. If completed properly, stand-up meetings can serve as a great alternative to daily or weekly roundtable meetings. This format will require practice but will save your team time in the long run. 

8 End on time (or earlier)

We’ve all attended meetings that should have ended earlier than they did. Don’t be the organizer who drags on a meeting that could have been an email. You may have initially thought you needed a full hour to discuss the pieces for your latest marketing campaign, but quickly realized that your team had already developed some stellar tactics. End the meeting once you’ve discussed all items on the meeting agenda and have given everyone the chance to ask their questions. Your team will thank you for giving them back time in their day. If there are issues that can’t be resolved during the meeting, agree to set time aside at a later date to discuss the specific issues at hand. If possible, avoid going longer than the time you’ve allotted. 

9 Give shoutouts

One of the easiest ways to give positive recognition in the workplace is through meaningful shoutouts. Be specific in your shoutouts. For example, instead of saying, “Jasmine has been a rockstar this week,” say, “Jasmine helped the team succeed this week when she took extra time to carefully review the group’s engagement strategy and condensed our ideas into tactics for implementation.” Say what you mean using sincere language that’s free from buzzwords. Be careful to not only give shoutouts to the same individuals during each meeting. 

10 Stay on topic 

Stay on topic by sticking to the items in your meeting agenda. Your meeting should have a clear purpose that all participants can understand, and you should limit the participants to individuals who will be directly involved in the matter to be discussed. Send an outline a day or two in advance so attendees have time to prepare their points and questions, and strive to get through all the discussion points outlined in your agenda during the meeting time. You can also make a list of other topics that come up and schedule time in your calendar to discuss these items at a later date. If you still feel like your meetings keep getting derailed, check out more of our tips to stay on-track during your next meeting!

Why is a positive meeting best? 

It’s simple: employees that feel appreciated will be more effective at work. Hosting a positive meeting with your team will boost morale and have your team feeling prepared to take on their next challenge. It will also breed a work culture that is cooperative, supportive, and committed to excellence. Meetings should begin promptly, stay on track, and achieve the objective stated in the meeting agenda. They should also provide an opportunity for your teammates to share ideas, discuss how they can overcome obstacles, and collaborate. 

Put a positive spin on meetings

As the meeting organizer, it’s as much your job to keep the attendees engaged as it is to get your point across. Help your team beat the Monday blues and the Friday fatigue by experimenting with new formats, staying on topic, and keeping the content lighthearted at your next meeting. Don’t skip out on the small details. Taking extra care to ensure that your meeting is positive will help your team stay enthusiastic, approach challenging discussions with ease, and prepare them to exceed expectations.