Upon Captain Picard’s one-word command “Engage,” his crew would immediately propel the Starship Enterprise forward and launch it into space at warp speed.
Getting team members to engage during meetings can be difficult. As a leader, there are behaviors and actions you can take to help. Using the 5 simple meeting strategies in this video will help your group engage and improve the effectiveness of your meetings.
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Wouldn’t it be great if it were that easy to immediately and completely engage a team in the work that needs to be done during a meeting? Unfortunately, for most team leaders, getting and keeping team members engaged, committed, and putting forth their best effort and ideas during a meeting isn’t that easy. However, engagement is key in conducting a productive meeting, leading a group, and finding solutions.
Here are five simple meeting engagement ideas that will help keep your meeting members engaged, energized, and producing great results.
- Present a brain teaser to jump-start interaction and get the group thinking. Often attendees will walk into a meeting and have a dozen other things on their mind: emails to answer, work to get done, and honestly, wishing they could just take a nap. If you want to draw them in and get their full attention, having a fun riddle gets the creative muscles going, which carries over into the meeting topic at hand.
- Establish a safe environment by asking team members to leave titles and agendas behind so everyone feels comfortable contributing their ideas to the discussion. When there is no hierarchy, individuals have an opportunity to lean into and strengthen their problem-solving bond with each other. The team mentality that results will be much more productive.
- Help the group define the purpose and goal of the meeting to understand what needs to be achieved and what tasks need to be accomplished. Is there a problem to be solved? Do ideas need to be brainstormed? Are there any status updates? Does a decision need to be made? State the purpose beforehand, again at the beginning, and regularly throughout the meeting to make sure everyone is staying on task, on track, and on time.
- Begin asking questions as soon as possible to get people talking. Perhaps try breaking a large group into smaller discussion groups and assign tasks. There are some particular benefits to facilitating small groups. People can feel more confident and willing to speak up to a smaller audience, feedback is instant and personal, and team-working skills are built.
- Use positive language that encourages team members to elaborate on ideas. “Thanks for sharing your idea,” or “That’s a great point; can anyone else build on that idea?” are good starting points. Don’t be defensive, display a sense of disinterest, or use dominant body language.
By getting your team engaged, you’ll be able to increase meeting engagement, harness that energy, and use the momentum to solve any challenge in front of you.
How Do You Ensure Participation in a Meeting?
Even when you practice all five of the above meeting engagement tips, there is likely to be at least one person in the room who would rather not participate. This can be due to past grievances or even just an introverted personality. Regardless of the reason, you can still encourage participation.
Fostering collaboration is not a one-time event. Trust and rapport are built up over time, so keep trying! Invite team members by name to give their input and suggestions. Ask them questions and actually listen to their responses. When possible, implement their solutions.
Another common reason people don’t participate is that they find the meeting pointless. This can be caused by either not having a clear objective or by having meetings too often. You can solve this problem by only using a meeting to solve a specific problem that requires group think. Otherwise, a simple email may suffice.
How Do You Motivate Employees in a Meeting?
If you find your employees’ motivation lacking, you may need to make a few adjustments.
First, don’t micromanage. Let employees figure out their own path to achieving goals, which also includes not punishing failure.
Second, provide a pleasant and happy place to work. When employees feel good and are enthusiastic to be there, inspiration goes up.
Finally, pay people what they’re worth. If they are contributing members of a team, make sure their compensation is fair and consistent with what other employees (including employees at other companies) are paid.