14 creative team meeting ideas to keep employees engaged and motivated

Ieva Sipola 19.08.2021
Illustration of a company meeting

It’s understandable that managers can run out of engaging team meeting ideas at some point. After all, it’s the same type of session, with the same people and often at the same time every day, week or month. 

But team meetings don’t have to be dull and repetitive. In fact, if your meetings are, then you may need to act urgently to get your team’s motivation and engagement back on track.

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In this post, we’ve listed 14 out-of-the-box meeting ideas, from simple and engaging icebreakers to reinventing ways how to run a team meeting. Most of these staff meeting ideas will work equally well for real-life team huddles and virtual team meeting activities.

Take the shortcut to team meeting ideas:

1. Start with an icebreaker

Any meeting will be more effective and dynamic if people feel comfortable in it – not only to listen but also to contribute. Ice breakers help people loosen up, opening doors for casual interaction and better engagement. 

An ice breaker doesn’t have to be anything long and complicated. Some examples of fun 5-minute icebreakers:

  • Quick questions – ask a few simple but fun questions you’ve prepared in advance, like What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Where would you like to be right now if you could choose any place in the world? Who was your teenage celebrity crush? 
  • Emoji check-in – primarily aimed at remote meetings, this game can also be played out in real life, using sticky notes or a whiteboard. Simply give everyone a minute to choose the most suitable emoji that best fits their mood that day. 
  • “No smiling” game – Tell everyone to stare at each other without smiling. The first person to start smiling or laughing is out of the game. The game goes on until there’s only one person left.

Such short games spark funny conversations among colleagues and help to find common interests. For more fun team building games and icebreakers, check out our post about remote team building activities, many of which can also be carried out in a face-to-face setting. 

2. Change location

Do you have a designated meeting room at the office? Or do you always hold meetings in the same corner of your open office? 

Changing the environment can work wonders for employee engagement and creativity. Try going out of your usual meeting room or even out of the building, to the nearest cafe or park. 

If all or part of your team works remotely, give them a challenge to join the meeting from a different part of their house, from the backyard or the nearest coffee shop. Such a tactic has the added benefit of helping your remote team get out of the house and change scenery for a fresh perspective and some exercise. 

Alternatively, you can simply ask that everyone adds a different background on their calling app. Seeing some colleagues on a “beach” during winter months and others in a “disco” is an amusing way to change the vibe of the meeting and spark funny conversation.

Team meeting with masks on

3. Announce a dress code

Try spicing up your monthly or weekly team meeting ideas with a different dress code, like the 80s, Halloween, or cartoon characters. A simpler dress code would be to announce “wacky Fridays” when all team members dress in a piece of clothing they have in their wardrobe but never wear. Try this tactic if your team members are up to such goofy fun – it won’t work if only one or two people dress up while others think it’s a silly idea.

Fashion devastation game is an awesome virtual team meeting idea. Ask everyone to turn off the camera for three minutes and wear the funkiest outfit they can find at home. Then, turn on the cameras all at once.

4. Try very short meetings

If your team meetings tend to drag on, try setting a 20, 30 or 45-minute limit and see where it gets you. Experimenting with meeting length creates a different meeting dynamic and structure. When you’re on a time limit, your team is likely to have more productive and focused discussions. 

If you’ve ever worked in an agile project management environment, you’re probably familiar with the concept of standup meetings. Standing up is an effective way to shorten the meetings because people tend to get to the point quicker. An added bonus is that your team will be physically active during the meeting, instead of sitting all day.

Standing team meeting

5. Kickoff every meeting with a win

Set the tone for your every meeting by announcing a recent accomplishment, noting a top performer in your team or expressing happiness at reaching a milestone. The win doesn’t always have to be a major one – it can be a positive outcome of a client meeting or a task that has been finished. Alternatively, ask your team members to share a personal win they’ve just experienced. 

If you’re looking for ways to make staff meetings more engaging, starting with a win is a pleasant tactic that sets a positive and engaging narrative for the whole session, simultaneously increasing your staff’s motivation. 

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6. Do an open mike about work-unrelated stuff 

Adding an informal aspect to meetings can foster team camaraderie and boost engagement. Open mike is an especially effective method for weekly or monthly review meetings, which tend to be longer and less hurried. An informal end for the week or month is an excellent way to wind down and finish off on a friendly, less stressful note.

7. Brainstorm using sticky notes

When your team needs to come up with an idea or solve a problem, good old sticky notes can be an effective tactic to get everyone involved – even the colleagues who usually don’t speak up. 

For example, pose a problem and ask everyone to submit possible solutions, even if they sound strange or unrealistic. Give each person a limited amount of sticky notes and ask to fill them all. When time is called, everyone should announce their ideas to others and stick their notes on a whiteboard or a large sheet of paper taped to the wall. The meeting leader should then categorize the notes and name each category. 

For remote teams, you can use online sticky note tools or simply categorize the answers in a Google Sheet that can be accessed by everyone or is shared on the screen. 

Person writing ideas on a sticky notes

8. Play “We’re alike”

Randomly split your (virtual or on-site) team into groups of two to four. Task each group with finding 5 things that its members have in common. When each group has a list, everyone comes together to share and compare what they have. The goal is to find common things among the different groups of people in the company. 

This activity is also an effective icebreaker that helps to get to know each other, especially if some of your team members are shy or introverted. This can also be a powerful way for managers to learn more about their team for future team building activities.  

9. Organize casual meeting Fridays

If your company has a rather corporate culture, your team will enjoy a chance to get casual time after time. Think about introducing casual Fridays where people can wear their comfiest clothes and not worry about being looked down upon.

This concept works equally well for remote teams. Introduce no-camera meeting Fridays to let your team feel as comfortable as possible – even work from the bed if they feel like it. 

10. Assign roles to meeting participants

People will be much more engaged in a meeting if they are expected to contribute in some way. One way to make staff meetings more engaging and get everyone slightly out of their comfort zone is assigning roles to meeting participants. You can choose one of these tactics:

  • Appoint a different meeting leader every time. When an employee leads a meeting, they can step in the manager’s shoes and see how it actually works. This tactic not only gives a fresh perspective but also increases empathy within a team.
  • Assign several roles and mix and match them every time. For example, you can assign a leader, a time-keeper, a decision-maker and even add different fun roles relevant to your team.
Person speaking in a team meeting

11. Create a PowerPoint presentation

Lately, powerpoints aren’t in fashion, but we all know that some well-forgotten things can feel very fresh when they’re brought back up. Presentations will also be a good way to demonstrate the relevant information in an unusual, engaging and more memorable way.

You can either surprise your team by making an eye-catching PowerPoint yourself or assign this task to a different employee every week or month. Encourage your staff to go creative, use vivid design and fun photos. 

12. Establish a meeting ritual

Rituals allow your employees to take a step back from their immediate work assignments, bond as personalities, or share their views over bigger picture ideas. Rituals also help colleagues build stronger collaboration over time. 

A ritual can be any small activity that encourages positive, rotating communication and sharing accomplishments or insights. It can be something physical, like weekly morning meditation or exercise, or simply stating your thoughts about the previous week or month and sharing your plans for the next one. 

13. Try different team meeting topics

Consider introducing a different theme for every weekly meeting. This can be a work-related team meeting topic like original marketing ideas, new growth directions, team well-being, a better workplace, or something unrelated to work. You can either tailor all the meeting to the specific theme or allocate a part of it to discuss the topic. 

Choosing themes can help avoid your team meetings becoming stagnant or too repetitive. Looking at your shared goals and work environment from a different perspective encourages creativity and opens new doors for dialogue.

If your team is up for fun incentives, do a funny theme every week or month, for example, Hawaii or TV shows. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need lots of preparation – a few decorations or some fun facts about the meeting theme will give the necessary vibe. As a bonus, you can add a fun-themed game, like a movie trivia quiz or everyone playing Robot Unicorn Attack as part of a Unicorn theme.

14. Give small incentives or prizes

Everyone loves a now and then perk or acknowledgment – a tap on the back that their hard work is noted and appreciated. Also, studies show that a vast majority of employees feel motivated by monetary and non-monetary incentives and that incentives lead to better performance at work.  

Team meetings are a good place and time to surprise your team with muffins, pizza, or gifts for employees as a thank-you for their hard work. Alternatively, you can hold a lottery or a game night with real prizes. Or, award anyone who comes up with the winning idea in a brainstorming session. 

Team huddle ideas for more productive and engaging meetings

Regardless of the size of your team, weekly or monthly staff huddles need a change of scenery time after time. We hope that our list of straightforward and actionable team meeting ideas will be a source of inspiration to reinvent your team sessions and make them more dynamic and productive. 

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