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Staff meetings are a useful forum for contributing ideas and initiating strategies but, unsurprisingly, people sometimes feel uneasy about making suggestions in case they are dismissed or ridiculed. You can rev up motivation at staff meetings by introducing brainstorming and confidence-building techniques.
Staff meetings are often fueled by coffee and muffins, but you can spice them up by introducing new treats, such as gourmet coffee cake, home-baked cookies and exotic herbal teas. Your coworkers will feel more valued and motivated if you continually surprise them with delicious refreshments. Creating a friendly atmosphere doesn’t just have to be about food, either. Someone who likes wearing novelty ties could premier his latest teddy bear tie at the weekly staff meeting and give an award to the person who comes up with the best tie slogan.
Games help people to relax, break down barriers and build team spirit. Even people who know one another well can feel nervous and under pressure to perform at a staff meeting, but lighthearted games break down inhibitions and boost team effort. Make games such as juggling balls, spinning plates and building a tower of old newspapers the first item on the agenda. Alternatively, host a game of rounders or softball in the park before the meeting begins.
Enthusiasm is infectious, and simply being excited about the topics under discussion makes people feel more motivated. Explain why particular items are on the agenda and outline the benefits a successful outcome will have for the company. If someone contributes a useful idea before the meeting, place her name on the agenda and ask her to present the idea at the meeting.
This powerful technique creates new ideas, solves problems and motivates people who work as a team. The secret of successful brainstorming lies in encouraging everyone to participate, treating all ideas with respect and preventing others from being scornful or dismissive toward coworkers’ ideas. Set a clear objective for the brainstorming activity, such as ideas for a marketing campaign, and allocate a time limit. Record suggestions on a flip chart, and stick the sheets of paper on the walls using putty or sticky tape. Give positive feedback when the session ends, and agree on an action plan and timescale for implementing ideas.
Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Elizabeth Burns began writing professionally in 1988. She has worked as a feature writer for various Irish newspapers, including the "Irish News," "Belfast News Letter" and "Sunday Life." Burns has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ulster as well as a Master of Research in arts.