Looking to spice up your internal company meetings? See how companies are using charities, push-ups, basketball, fines and awards to make their meetings more fun and productive.
Creative staff meetings can make all the difference for leaders and attendees alike. This type of meeting might happen on a regular or as-need basis. They exclusively serve as a time for company staff to get together and pitch, brainstorm, or check in on certain pertinent developments within the organization. Here are some great examples of creative staff meeting ideas from high-performing companies. But first, a quick definition:
What is an internal meeting?
Internal meetings are used to touch base with members of the same organization on issues big and small. Most people don’t always associate enjoyment with this event type, but there’s no reason why you can’t plan a fun staff meeting with high levels of event engagement.
Internal Meeting Ideas
1. Get back in touch with your inner child.
Who said coloring is just for kids? Plum Organics is an excellent example of how corporate event ideas can include an element of fun in any internal meeting. They choose a day of the week to include this activity - usually Thursdays - and host what have come to be known as creative brainstorming sessions. Their staff talks, colors, and decompresses together before finishing the week strong.
So far, their unique approach to internal meetings has been a major component in their successful new product development efforts. Engaging with employees while stimulating their minds in a whole new way can promote out of the box thinking.
Source: Plum Organics
2. Make them drop and give you 50.
It’s rare to hear about companies implementing and benefiting from military tactics in their event strategy, but that’s exactly what Buddytruk did when they started this highly effective internal meeting tactic. They decided that keeping meetings on track and on time was so important to their productivity that if they were forced to extend beyond the scheduled time, the last person speaking would have to do 50 push ups.
The physical challenge was a funny gag that inevitably led to team bonding.
3. Have a standing room only policy.
Also a fan of running meetings on time, Just Fearless used another physical approach to holding attendees accountable; whenever meetings run long, the chairs are taken away and everyone is forced to stand until it ends. One of the biggest challenges of internal meetings is remaining focused and on topic.
Having the looming pressure of potentially seeing the chair moved from under you puts things into perspective. The rule applies both in the office and at public venues as well.
Source: Just Fearless
4. Make long-winded employees pay up.
Tripping.com plans to make their staff put their money where their mouths are at internal meetings by using a “swear jar”-like approach to their scheduling. At the start of every meeting they set a stopwatch for 30 minutes. If the meeting extends beyond the 30 minutes, whoever called the meeting is responsible for putting $5 into their team beer jar.
Fun rewards mixed with a little friendly public humiliation typically make for a productive internal meeting atmosphere.
5. Use friendly reminder tools.
Technology like event software plays a big role in B2B event marketing and could be the key to keeping everyone on time to your next internal meeting. O3 World uses third party software to coordinate conference room preparation and staff meeting reminders. The app can read employee calendars and let’s them know when to start wrapping up before the next scheduled event.
Even if you choose to manually send reminders via email or messaging, a little nudge now and again might actually keep your meeting schedule on track long term. Just one of many meeting secrets to be gleaned from multi-touch event marketing.
That’s a wrap on @CodedayPhilly. The students learned that their presentations are just as important as their #code. Thanks to everyone who supported this event, it was a fun 24 hours! pic.twitter.com/O7hFr9JLI4— O3 World (@o3world) November 12, 2017
6. Donate to charity every time the meeting gets interrupted.
Keller-Williams Realty has a strict policy for phones being silenced or off during internal staff meetings. To support this, they developed a rule where attendees whose phones rang during meetings were made to donate to the company’s charity. Not only did it cut down on disruption during the event, it also helped give back to the community at large.
Including a flexible pay-what-you-can option helps make this a feasible option for any company interested in tying together productivity with on-brand social causes.
Source: The Muse
7. Make the Global Office Local.
Bizzabo has offices in both New York City and Tel Aviv. While smaller meetings regularly occur between the two offices, a large all-hands meeting is held every two weeks. Projectors, throwable mics and a jam-packed agenda help make the global local. Plus, during these meetings Bizzaboers get to give and receive recognition alongside their overseas counterparts.
Whether your company is spread out across the world or just a region, all-hands meetings can be very effective for creating a cohesive global culture.
8. Keep employees on topic.
Brivo knows that internal meetings are often plagued with repeat ideas, spinning off topic, and long tangents that fail to move the conversation forward. To remedy this issue, they decided to use a visual tool. Whenever someone begins rehashing a point that was already made, another team member holds up their “No Rehash” ping pong paddle. Attendees are empowered to bring greater energy and focus to their discussions while also finding ways to help break each other’s bad habits.
Source: Brivo LinkedIn
9. Shoot some hoops.
It makes sense that a gaming company would use a game to influence the success of their internal meetings. GeneraGames knows that physical activity is a great way to both access to parts of the mind we don’t use while seated at a desk and give a daily work routine a much needed breather. They find the quick games of basketball help them think more creatively while adding an element of play to the process.
Whether you have direct access to a professional court or use a door hanger nets, it’s possible to incorporate this sporty element into any internal meeting setting.
Source: Genera Games
10. Get personal.
True to their brand, LivePerson makes sure to add in a more human aspect to what could turn into yet another boring company event. To do so, they begin each internal meeting with a specific question. Usually the topic is chosen to help break down walls and provoke deep, meaningful conversations between staff members. This technique helps employees bond, strengthen their empathy muscles, and get into a collaborative mode by seeing things from one another’s perspective.
11. Start at a weird time.
TINYpulse is not a fan of doing their meetings on the hour or at the half hour. Instead, they choose unusual start times (like 8:48am) so employees can remember when they’re supposed to arrive. The extra effort required to register and remember such an odd number in their otherwise uniform schedule helps people stay on track. As an added bonus, it also serves as a little memory game for participants.
12. Merge team-building with refreshments on breaks.
For especially long meetings, IACC makes sure to keep breaks both rejuvenating and focused with variety of tasks and games that require team collaboration. They’ve tried solving puzzles, performing short skits, interviewing each other about their childhood dreams, and everything in between. This breaks up the pace of what could otherwise be a series of presentations or reports and brings in a refreshing and productive alternative. Games plus food, what’s not to love?
13. Create a unique ritual.
Poll Everywhere has an interesting idea for starting or ending internal meetings. They have what they call a “moment of Zen”. During this moment they take time, as a group, to learn something new or reflect on their day. Oftentimes meeting leaders will share an inspiring quote or a fun news tidbit. Sometimes team members will highlight interesting notes from the work of other colleagues during the week.
Whatever it is, they share and discuss with another. By zooming out of their immediate business, the team is able to bond over bigger picture ideas. This relationship building tactic helps build stronger collaboration over time.
Source: Poll Everywhere Blog
14. Add a speaker series.
Johnson & Johnson makes internal meetings educational with their very own mock Ted Talk series. Employees have the chance to present short lectures on topics they are passionate about. Since the brand is dedicated to innovation, creating an environment in which employees feel free to share their ideas continues to strengthen that endeavor. The program has become so popular that they’ve expanded it through a digital library all employees have access to.
Source: Johnson & Johnson
15. Ask employees what they would like to do.
Sometimes a very practical survey is all it takes to upgrade your internal meeting strategy. At Pandora, employees are encouraged to form groups over their shared interests (cold-brew, anyone?). If they reach the minimum number of participants, Pandora funds their group endeavors. You can easily apply this philosophy to internal meetings by polling attendees and sorting out common areas they can bond over. Keep these similarities in mind when choosing a venue or activity.
16. Share and set personal goals.
DigitalOcean keeps their meetings all business except for one very important moment. At the conclusion of each internal rendezvous, the staff is welcome to update their publicly shared spreadsheet of personal goals for the week. These goals could be related or unrelated to whatever the meeting was about. This exercise helped employees continue to learn from each other even after they left the conference room. They even eventually started adding short summaries of lessons they learned with each goal so others could benefit from the wisdom.
17. Appoint a decision-maker.
Google knows how important data it is to keep meetings concise and to the point. Which is why they make sure to always have someone taking notes and, more importantly, someone making decisions at every meeting. The decision-maker has final say on every issue and makes it their job to keep meetings focused and productive.
The team gets to vote on the decision-maker ahead of time so that the process remains diplomatic. They also make it a point to eliminate as many meetings as possible by solving issues via email. Decision-makers are also empowered to cancel unnecessary meetings by communicating with all parties involved beforehand.
Source: Google Careers
18. Work in some ice breakers.
HeadBox is a big fan of ice breakers because, old-fashioned or not, they just plain work. In order to start meetings with the right energy, leaders at HeadBox initiate a game or activity that gets people up and moving. Most of the time the mechanics of the game help attendees naturally get to know on another better. And for large meetings, they’ll even split the crowd up into smaller groups for a little friendly competition.
19. Use small, tangible incentives.
Everyone loves free stuff. Whether it’s a little swag, a special lunch or a small gift card, there are an unlimited number of ways to provide attendees with participation incentives. At their internal meetings, Insect Shield Repellent Technology hosts weekly and monthly brainstorms and makes sure to award anyone who comes up with ideas the company chooses to move forward with. It’s a way of showing employees their gratitude for their performance and talents but it’s also a highly effective way to break up a routine meeting agenda.
Source: Insect Shield Facebook
20. Include participants, not spectators.
Some employees are more vocal than others. And while there aren’t always opportunities for curating your guest list like you would with in any account-based event marketing strategy, there might be the opportunity to focus on bringing in attendees who have something unique to add to the conversation. Apple does exactly that. They keep their meeting lists small but purposeful, with outspoken attendees being top priority additions to keep ideas flowing and the conversation moving forward in new ways.
Key Takeaways: Your Internal Meetings
Meetings are a great opportunity to flex your planner muscles in new and creative ways. Keep these top tips in mind when coordinating your next internal event:
- Take advantage of event marketing tools and visual reminders to keep everyone on time.
- Add a personal touch through ice breakers or thoughtful details.
- Play around with ways to start and end on time.
- Find unusual ways to keep everyone on task.
- Transform or change at least one major event element.
No matter what you choose to include, meetings are a great way to continue bringing people together and pushing them towards their highest potential.