13 essential tips to run engaging monthly meetings

Are you dreading the next round of monthly meetings? Do you feel like no one is actually listening or taking any actionable insights from your meetings?

If so, it’s time to make a change.

Running engaging, effective monthly meetings doesn’t have to be a chore—it can be productive and inspiring for everyone involved. To do this, shake up your meeting strategy and liven up the conference room to transform boring meetings into engaging and productive sessions.

We’ll go over 13 tips that will help managers and leaders run successful and lively monthly meetings every single time.

Types of monthly meetings

Before we go over actionable strategies to make your monthly meeting more engaging, let’s look at what kind of meetings happen first.

Decision-making meetings

You can use monthly decision-making meetings to ensure operations across your organization run smoothly. It’s a way for managers and executives to review objectives, identify improvement areas, and discuss future strategies.

It gives them a dedicated space to make the tough decisions critical to the company’s well-being. For example, hiring a new employee, downsizing, or cost-cutting.

Team-building meetings

They’re also known as “Happy Hour” meetings. A monthly team-building meeting is an opportunity to bring the team together and discuss topics that improve employees’ work relationships and dynamics.

The idea is to encourage bonding between team members. It’s similar to a corporate retreat but doesn’t require as many resources.

One-on-one meetings

These meetings are meant to act as a focused, private session between individual employees and managers. You can discuss specific ideas or accomplishments and update each other on your monthly progress.

It’s excellent for providing opportunities for direction, feedback, and goal-setting.

Brainstorming meetings

Brainstorming meetings are monthly gatherings where employees collaborate to share ideas and identify possible solutions to collective issues.

The idea is to spark out-of-the-box ideas for current problems in the organization, as it’s easier to bounce ideas in a team setting. You can cultivate worthwhile conversations that ignite progress by bringing individuals from different departments together.

Check-in meetings

These meetings are meant to act as a check-in point for every department. These are team settings to check in on team progress instead of a one-on-one meeting. For example, project updates, feedback sessions, or monthly planning sessions.

13 essential tips for running engaging monthly team meetings

Here are 13 tips from industry leaders to make your monthly meeting more fun, engaging, and productive:

1. Send out a clear agenda before the meeting

28.6% of employees in the US feel meetings that drift away from their original agenda result in an unpleasant meeting. It indicates the importance of a clear agenda.

If you want your employees to remain focused on the meeting goal, an excellent way to do that is to tell them what the meeting is about. Without an agenda, you’ll waste time discussing pointless topics, leading to frustrated and zoned-out employees.

An agenda gives a sense of clarity and ensures that everybody is prepared to speak before they come for the meeting.

When to use: Any type of meeting

2. Make it a collaborative session

A one-sided conversation is not a conversation—it’s a lecture. There’s no point in holding a meeting if nobody except the manager can participate and voice their opinions.

Lucjan Suski, CEO & co-founder of Surfer SEO, recommends the same. He says, “Instead of having one person talking at the meeting, make it a collaborative session with everyone participating and contributing to the conversation.”

When you encourage participation, employees feel heard, seen, and motivated. They’ll be more likely to contribute new ideas that could benefit the company.

When to use: Any type of meeting

3. Use engagement tools to create more interactive meetings

Gone are the days when meetings had to be in person and only for serious conversations. Now, you can take advantage of several employee engagement tools and add some spark to your meeting.

You can use Poll Everywhere to create quizzes, gather employee feedback via polls, or start a new discussion. It can be used in virtual meetings or hybrid meetings too. For instance, if you need your employee’s feedback on critical business decisions during a meeting, launch an anonymous poll/open-ended survey to get their honest feedback.

Depending on the meeting, you can change the type of tool you’re using. Joel Soucy, employee experience specialist at Solink, says, “If it’s a company-wide meeting meant to be a fun way to connect with the team, trivia and online games are great ways to get everyone involved. If the meeting has a more serious tone, then the best engagement tools are those that encourage people to ask questions and actively listen.”

When to use: Decision-making meetings, brainstorming meetings, team-building meetings

4. Include an active component in the meeting

If you say meeting, the first thought that comes to mind is a couple of individuals sitting at a round table and talking. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

Incorporate an active component within your meetings. Jarir Mallah, human resources (HR) specialist at Ling App, recommends implementing a standing meeting where no one is allowed to sit.

It encourages the team to finish the conversation quickly and stay focused on the task at hand.

When to use: Any type of creative session

5. Include discussion breaks within your monthly meetings

Too often, companies spend time discussing topics one after the other and host a live Q&A at the end. Include a discussion break instead.

Tracey Beveridge, senior executive assistant to the board and head of HR at Personnel Checks, says, “Many employees will not want to wait until the end of the meeting to discuss and would rather save their thoughts or responses for an upcoming meeting break. They potentially lose aspects of their ideas due to a lack of initial engagement or simply forgetting due to the length of the meeting.”

We recommend including a break to ensure employees are keeping up with the conversation.

For instance, you can use Poll Everywhere to create a Pinned Q&A activity where meeting participants can drop their questions and suggestions into the Q&A box. Based on the response, other participants can upvote or downvote responses. During the discussion breaks, the presenter can pick up the most popular responses and use them as topics for discussion. Similarly, you can insert discussion breaks using other Activity types directly into your presentation slides—so that everybody remains engaged throughout.

When to use: Decision-making meetings, brainstorming meetings, one-on-one meetings

6. Ensure the meeting is as efficient as possible

Efficiency in meetings is essential to optimizing time and keeping everyone engaged. To achieve this, take the time to create a meeting agenda and map out how long each section will take.

Also remind participants of their roles and assign specific tasks to each of them. This way, they can prepare and prevent any time wastage during the meeting. If the team deviates from the topic, remind them of the agenda to keep them focused.

When to use: Any type of meeting

7. Celebrate individual and team wins

There’s no better way to improve the mood of the room than to discuss something positive. Take some time to celebrate recent wins—for individuals and teams.

Jo Taylor, managing director of Let’s Talk Talent, says, “You don’t need to use technology to ask a simple question like, ‘What were you most proud of last month?’ and go around the room and get people to share. Using that opportunity to celebrate each other will ultimately bring you closer.”

When to use: One-on-one meetings, check-in meetings

8. Make sure the meeting is inclusive to every team member

Inclusive sessions ensure that each person’s voice is heard, regardless of their background or circumstances. When team members feel respected and valued, they’re more likely to contribute their ideas. In turn, the entire team can benefit from their expertise.

It also creates an open environment where all ideas are welcome, irrespective of who contributes. Employees can speak freely without fear of judgment, which takes away any feelings of discomfort or exclusivity and can be detrimental to company morale and productivity.

When to use: Any type of meeting

9. Conduct an “Idea Competition” for new initiatives

If you’re conducting a monthly brainstorming meeting, run an idea competition instead. Here, you can give each team member a relevant topic or issue and ask them to propose creative solutions. Give them a week or so to come up with an idea.

Milo Cruz, chief marketing officer of Freelance Writing Jobs, says it’s an excellent way to increase excitement. He says, “It’s a perfect opportunity for you to recognize the top performers of the month and give rewards to motivate them to maintain their performance.”

When to use: Brainstorming meetings

10. Focus on the future instead of the past

Unless it’s a retrospective, there’s no point in discussing the past. Ensure your discussion includes a healthy balance of past and future initiatives. The more forward-facing you are, the better.

Matthew Ramirez, founder of Rephrasely, says, “The most effective monthly meetings discuss the goals for the upcoming month. This is how your team stays motivated and energized about the work.”

When to use: Decision-making meetings, one-on-one meetings, check-in meetings

11. Let the team contribute to agenda setting

Sometimes employees might find themselves stuck in a meeting that has nothing to do with them. Plus, some meetings are just about things leadership wants to discuss.

Instead, be collaborative from the get-go. Ask your team members if they have something to discuss and turn it into an agenda item.

Alexandre Bocquet, founder & CEO of Betterly, recommends this approach too. He says that including employee opinions from the beginning can make them feel included and not like they’re being given orders. It motivates them for the meeting and keeps them engaged during.

When to use: One-on-one meetings, check-in meetings

12. Make different team leaders head the meeting each time

Having a different team leader head the meeting each time can keep things interesting. Every individual has their own way of doing things—some might include icebreakers while others might include funny story sharing.

Logan Mallory, vice president of marketing at Motivosity, agrees, “Everyone has a slightly different style of leading a meeting, so this strategy ensures that the meetings always have a bit of a different feel. It helps keep employees engaged because each meeting isn’t simply a repeat of the previous month’s.”

When to use: Brainstorming meetings, check-in meetings, team-building meetings

13. Collect feedback from team members for improvisation

31.7% of employees agree that if employers solicit feedback during a staff meeting instead of a survey, it’ll improve the feedback/follow-up process. So ask your employees for their opinions.

You never know what creative ideas they have in mind. It could be for a specific project, a business process, or a monthly meeting. You can even conduct an open-ended poll to get their opinions on the spot and create a word cloud to highlight popular themes.

When to use: Any type of meeting

poll everywhere conversation

Liven up your monthly meetings with Poll Everywhere

Monthly meetings allow team members to connect and update themselves on the company’s happenings. Regular meetings also encourage collaboration, creativity, and commitment to meeting goals.

By using audience engagement tools, companies can liven up their monthly meetings and result in a productive meeting. For example, you can use Poll Everywhere to conduct live polls, gather feedback and opinions, or conduct quizzes with your team. It can engage your employees and keep them focused on the meeting’s goal. The more focused they are, the better their retention will be.

You can also add an element of fun by incorporating videos or presentations into a meeting that can bring clarity to topics being discussed.

If you’re looking to incorporate an interactive element in your monthly meetings, sign up for Poll Everywhere today.