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Five tips for running engaging and inspiring meetings

Whether holding a meeting for employees or clients, they’re often met with a certain amount of negativity and lack of enthusiasm. Use these ideas to help you think outside the box when running your next meeting, and see an immediate boost in engagement levels.

1. Set an agenda and get the people there. When you send a meeting request, set the agenda in the subject or body of the email. Include a summary of all those who will be attending, their role and responsibilities for being there so all involved are well aware of what they bring to the table and can prepare adequately. If it is a large meeting involving various stakeholders from different places, states or even countries, you could take advantage of free cloud tools such as Dropbox to upload any information they need to bring along with them including videos, images and summaries which will be accessible anywhere at any time which also saves the hassle of trying to send large files.

Don’t just presume those who you have invited will attend, keep track of meeting request acceptances and make sure you contact those who have not responded. A simple reminder can make all the difference and ensure you don’t rock up on the day with a half empty room or table! Perhaps you could award a reward for the first lot of people to RSVP, if it is going to help make your time more productive, why not?

2. Think outside the box. Don’t feel restricted to the board room. Removing the four walls of office can usually open up free communication and can help get creative ideas flowing! Depending on the people and the agenda for the meeting, changing it up a bit helps to create a sensory experience for all those involved. You could take the meeting outdoors to a local park, a beach or café to ensure your attendees are comfortable and the meeting is met with enthusiasm.

3. Express yourself visually. If you must use PowerPoint use majority of images as opposed to text to engage more effectively. Discover the power of colour and utilise innovative products to help get message across, such as the Avery Peel and Stick range, a colourful range of  removable dry erase decals, to jot down the meeting agenda, note key points and even give them to attendees to write down questions as they go along for quick reference.

4. Provide the right resources. Take a kit including pens (that work) and notepads. Name tags with the attendees name and role is great way to ensure Larry doesn’t mistake bob for Pete. You should ensure you create a summary of notes as a reference for attendees so they are aware of the chain of events and don’t forget plenty of fluid, fruit and or lollies to ensure everyone is alert and hydrated for the full duration of the meeting!

5. Summarise and finish with a bang. Make sure you finish every meeting with a ‘thank you’ and ensure time for an open forum or question and answer to ensure everyone is on the same page. It is also great to allow some time for a little social activity to help establish and develop relationships further.

Give your attendees a little something to take away like a ‘goodie bag’, is also a great way of ensuring the meeting is made memorable. Most importantly, make sure you create a meeting summary to send your attendees which clearly states the next point of call, as this also gives you a written record of all that was discussed for future reference. Free online tools such as Wunderlist can be helpful for managing a tasks list that can be accessed by and shared with all attendees and worked on collaboratively. It can be used everywhere on-the-go via iPhone, Android, the iPad, on PC & Mac or online with the brand-new browser version. This will allow you to keep track of activities needed for completion between one meeting and the next.

Good luck!

– Grant Emanuel is senior product manager at Avery Office and Consumer Products Australia, and considers himself the ‘king of meetings.’ Emanuel prides himself on his ability to create enthusiasm and engage attendees with innovative presentation tools and products, most of which are readily available at his disposal working as part of the Avery team.

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