Abstract illustration of balloons representing meeting ideas
Collaboration

Ideas to make your weekly team meetings more engaging

Reinvigorate your team meetings with some fresh ideas

By the team at SlackJune 7th, 2024

The average employee spends around four and a half hours in meetings each week. That’s more than two workdays per month in meetings—and for many, that’s excessive.

More than one-third of employees report spending too much time in meetings, according to Slack’s 2023 State of Work report. Over half say a flexible work schedule makes them more productive, but the more meetings you have, the less flexible your work schedule is.

Team leaders can improve morale and boost productivity by cutting down on meetings and running their necessary meetings more effectively. Let’s explore our best team meeting ideas for enhanced collaboration, engagement and communication. Here are our top tips for holding effective, efficient meetings in a positive environment.

Qualities of an effective team meeting

Effective team meetings improve communication and collaboration, ensuring everyone is rowing in the same direction. A well-run meeting clarifies objectives, expectations, roles and responsibilities while fostering trust and relationships among team members.

Necessary

Team leaders should call for a meeting only when the topic requires synchronous discussion to make meaningful progress. Such topics might include employee onboarding, project kickoffs, brainstorming, manager feedback, retrospectives, and budget or financial meetings.

Informal or formal

Most large meetings are relatively formal, with set agendas and designated leaders, but a meeting doesn’t have to be formal and polished to be effective. Informal meetings are ideal for sharing information and exchanging ideas when a simple Slack message won’t quite do the trick.

You might schedule informal meetings ahead of time, such as with casual coffee chats and weekly one-on-ones, or hold them spontaneously using huddles in Slack. By curating a relaxed environment, an informal meeting might make teammates more comfortable speaking up and offering ideas.

Interactive

Interactive team meetings enhance employee engagement by encouraging participation and contributions from all team members. They boost morale and employee satisfaction while fostering commitment and loyalty. They also encourage team members to share their perspectives to facilitate problem-solving, deep analysis and critical thinking.

Clear-cut agenda

A well-crafted team meeting agenda helps focus discussions and provide straightforward action items to improve productivity. Team leaders can use meeting agendas to track progress, assign tasks, discuss challenges and ensure accountability.

How to create a positive environment for effective team meetings

Regardless of whether a meeting is virtual or in-person, formal or informal, a one-on-one or a teamwide sync, team leaders should work to create an open, supportive environment. If you’re leading a meeting, take care to encourage new ideas and innovation while ensuring that everyone understands their responsibilities in working toward the same goal.

Here’s how to curate a positive meeting environment:

  • Establish clear meeting objectives. Distribute an agenda in advance to outline the meeting’s purpose so participants can prepare for the meeting. Consider assigning roles like facilitator, timekeeper and note-taker to make the process more efficient.
  • Start and end meetings on time, and keep discussions focused on the agenda items. 
  • Review action items and task ownership from the previous meeting to ensure accountability and follow-through.
  • Invite only relevant team members to avoid overcrowding and disengagement.
  • Rotate meeting leaders, and have different stakeholders lead different parts of the meeting.
  • Create a safe space for open dialogue by setting guidelines for respectful communication. Promote inclusivity by encouraging quieter members to speak up or ask questions in the chat.
  • Celebrate success and offer constructive feedback to promote positive interactions and support professional growth.
  • Use interactive tools like polls, whiteboards and breakout rooms in digital meetings to support dynamic conversations.
  • Address conflict professionally and constructively to resolve disagreements while maintaining respect and trust among team members.
  • Regularly check in with team members to see if they find the meetings meaningful and useful.

Team meeting ideas for better engagement

A few different methods can help keep team members engaged and interactive during meetings. Try out these ideas.

Engage participants with ice-breaking activities

These ideas help meeting participants—especially new team members—loosen up so they feel more comfortable pitching ideas.

  • Two truths and a lie: Each team member shares two truths and one lie about themselves. The rest of the team guesses which statement is the lie.
  • Unique fact: Each person shares a fun and unique fact about themselves to learn more about each other.
  • Desert island scenario: Ask everyone which three items they would bring to a desert island and why to jump-start lively and humorous discussions.

Boost participation from remote team members

Don’t leave out remote participants during icebreaker activities. Loop in virtual team members with these activities.

  • Online trivia: Host a trivia game with questions about the team’s interests or random fun facts. (Search for trivia apps on Slack for ideas.)
  • Virtual scavenger hunt: Create a list of items for team members to find in their homes and share on camera. (Make it fun and creative!)
  • Two-minute talent show: Each team member gets two minutes to showcase a talent or hobby.

Ask interactive questions to spark conversations

These ideas can jazz up weekly or monthly team meetings by getting participants on the same page while also setting a positive tone for the rest of the discussion.

  • Round-robin updates: Each team member shares a quick update on their current project or tasks. They can also discuss any challenges and ask for help.
  • Success stories: Invite team members to share their recent accomplishments, highlighting their successes and how they have benefited the team or a project. (This is a great end-of-year team meeting idea so you can break for the holidays on a positive note!)
  • Brainstorming: Pose a challenge or question and have the group brainstorm solutions collaboratively with tools like virtual whiteboards.

Team meeting ideas to enhance communication

Collaboration is key to effective team meetings. Here’s how to set the tone for problem-solving, idea-sharing and productive discussion.

Create team user manuals

Help people do their jobs better by encouraging clear communication. Ask participants to create a “user manual” to outline their work preferences, communication style, strengths, and areas where they need support. Then compile a team handbook featuring each member’s user manual, plus collective team goals, roles and processes.

Clarify roles and responsibilities

Create a visual map with each team member’s roles to clarify responsibilities and avoid redundancies. Also, use a priority matrix to categorize tasks based on urgency and importance, encouraging the team to focus on high-priority items. You can categorize team members into these four roles for each project:

  • The driver: Leads the team, project or decision
  • The approver: Has the ultimate sign-off power
  • Contributors: Are involved in the project or chip in their efforts
  • The informed participants: Stay in the loop

Keep detailed meeting histories

Take meticulous meeting notes to record decisions made, action items and responsible parties, and store them in a central location everyone can access, such as a Slack canvas or a Google Doc. Meeting minutes create a public record to help keep team members accountable and provide context for ongoing discussions.

End meetings early (when you can)

If you’ve gotten through the agenda with time to spare, don’t drag out the meeting—end it. Show people you respect their time by giving them back a few minutes at the end of a meeting whenever possible.

Meeting ideas for different team types

Meetings vary depending on your team’s makeup and responsibilities. Let’s explore specialty-specific ideas for team meetings.

Sales team meeting ideas

Review your sales goals and pipeline. Set specific, achievable goals for the week, and review progress to track performance and celebrate achievements. Discuss your sales pipeline, focusing on the status of key deals, potential obstacles and strategies to move deals forward.

Support professional development. Incorporate short trainings on sales techniques, product knowledge, best practices and industry trends. Use role-playing exercises to practice sales pitches, handling objections and closing techniques in a supportive environment.

Motivate and inspire. Invite successful professionals as guest speakers to share their insights and experiences with your sales team. Share motivational stories or quotes to inspire your team to stay positive and driven. Also, recognize and celebrate milestones for both individuals and the team as a whole.

Creative team meeting ideas

Gamify brainstorming sessions. Pair up team members and have them pitch ideas to each other, inspiring creativity through friendly competition. Pose creative challenges or problems to solve, and reward the most innovative solutions.

Use interactive and collaboration tools. Leverage digital whiteboard tools to encourage collaborative brainstorming and visual thinking. Use real-time polls and surveys to evaluate opinions. Hold breakout sessions to encourage creative problem-solving from diverse perspectives.

Employ visualization and storytelling techniques. Use storyboards to visualize processes, customer journeys and project plans. Play out scenarios related to customer interactions, project challenges and team dynamics to gain different perspectives and improve your team’s processes.

Leadership team meeting ideas

Conduct strategic planning and reviews. Revisit your organization’s vision, mission and strategic goals to ensure alignment in decision-making. Analyze strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to better understand internal and external factors affecting long-term success. Hold in-depth sessions to review quarterly performance, financials and key metrics against targets.

Facilitate problem-solving and decision-making. Use decision matrices to systematically evaluate options and support data-driven decision-making. Explore future scenarios and plan for potential challenges. Conduct rapid ideation and prototyping sessions to solve challenges and explore new opportunities.

Make team meetings more engaging and productive with Slack huddles

Slack’s huddles feature offers an informal, collaborative setting for spontaneous virtual meetings. Hop on a huddle at the drop of a hat to walk through challenges, talk through ideas or simply catch up over coffee. Quickly gather teammates for informal brainstorming, easy screen sharing, and real-time feedback exchange.

Any links, documents and messages sent in a huddle are automatically saved in Slack, making it easier than ever to keep meeting minutes. Plus, huddles support emoji reactions, customizable backgrounds and special effects to liven up your conversations.

Teams that use huddles see a 37% uptick in productivity, so if you’re looking for a simple way to make your team meetings more effective, you’ve got it.

Footnotes

  1. Source: FY24 Customer Tracking Survey, Slack from Salesforce

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