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5 Fresh Ideas to Kickstart your Association’s Meetings

Are looking for some new ways to refresh your association’s meetings? We've got some ideas to get you started!

Holiday Shaped Cookies on White and Grey Textiles

Summer is here! With the soaring temperatures and beautiful weather on the rise, it can get hard to give all your focus to work.

Who wants to sit inside working when they’re itching to get out and have fun?

But your association’s work is important. There’s a lot to get done in the summer months, from events to member recruiting. And then there’s meetings. You want to be able to reign in your meeting attendees, which can be hard in the hazy months of summer. How do you get everyone to engage and enjoy your association’s meetings without feeling the longing to be in the great outdoors? The National Statistics Council claims that around 37% of employee time is spent attending meetings.

And unfortunately, these employees seem to mind. In fact, 47% of these employees complain that too many meetings are a waste of their time. These numbers are alarming for the state of any company’s meetings! It’s up to your association to create fun and fresh meetings that your attendees can get into. If your meetings can keep the ball rolling and get some serious work done, your attendees won’t feel any time lost or wasted.

So, if you’re looking for some new ways to refresh your association’s meetings, here are some ideas to get you started on the right track.

1. Take it outside

Want to incorporate the warm weather into your association’s meetings? It’s time to take your work outside. Creating a meeting space outside will get your attendees onboard. Not only is it a way to get fresh air for everyone involved, it also takes away the traditional structure and forces a new way of thinking. Forcing your meetings into a new location can spark interest in attendees. It gets them out of the office space, thereby getting their mind to pay attention to surroundings and jumpstart the thought process. Holding your meetings outside can actually help produce new, creative solutions to your association’s problems. Designate a spot outside of the office or around town to hold your meetings. Then, create a meeting schedule with your team and find a time that works for everyone. You could hold a mid-afternoon meeting to pick up speed and motivate people to get through their day. Have bad weather? Don’t worry. You can either make a rain date for your outdoor meetings, or just bring them inside for the day. This way, you don’t miss out on any important meeting sessions. Having your meetings outside can make your attendees excited to get to work.

2. Get creative

Did you know that coloring/drawing during meetings can actually help attendees focus? It’s true. According to a study published by Time, doodling can actually aid memory when it comes to important information. Not only that, but coloring is known to reduce stress and anxiety, making for a calmer environment that promotes a healthy work flow. So, why not incorporate an artistic side into your association’s meetings? Invite your association’s team to a meeting and have them color. You can create certain assignments as a sort of team building assignment built into your meeting. Or, you can let your attendees have free reign and let their creativity spark. This will help them destress from their day and open up the room for more discussion. Many companies have found adding coloring to their meetings a great way to jumpstart productivity within your meeting attendees. Get creative with your association’s meetings and bring an element of relaxation to your attendees.

3. Start with a question

Do you feel like your meetings are stiff? Do team members have a difficult time speaking up and breaking the silence? Get the conversation started with an icebreaker question. Getting your meeting attendees comfortable and ready to open up for discussion is a tough task. You need to make sure everyone feels like they can share their opinion without feeling awkward or shy.

A great way to open up the floor from the start is to ask a question at the beginning of every meeting. Liveperson calls this technique “connection before contact”. It’s a technique designed to get your team outside of their comfort zone and spark their brain to think about specific topics. This question can deal with anything; It doesn’t have to pertain to the meeting topic. In fact, it’s probably better if it doesn’t. You want to relate to your meeting attendees and find talking points for further discussion later on. You can ask attendees what their greatest strength is. Or, what something is they’d like to work on. You can also ask more basic questions, like what your team’s favorite book is. Anything that can get people talking with one another. Opening up discussion early will lead to more open discussions throughout the meeting. Your association will benefit from having a team that is comfortable to talk during an important meeting or conference.

4. Change up your time

Does your association host meetings at the same time of day every time? While clockwork can be good in some cases, it might be negatively affecting your meetings. Having your meetings held at the same time can cause a meticulous routine for your team members. If they’re programmed to meet every week at the same time, it could become a bad habit to tune out at that exact time. To combat this, your association can start to switch up the times and dates of your meetings. If you typically hold your meeting in the afternoon, try switching it up to the morning. A change of pace could be what your team needs to increase productivity when it matters most.

Or, if you’d like to find the best time to hold a meeting, you can turn to statistics. According to a recent study, the best time to book a meeting that is most likely to have a productive outcome is on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. It’s not too early or too late in the day, or the week, suggesting that mid-week, early afternoon meetings are the best time to meet.

5. Have late penalties

No one wants a late attendee. Having a team member walk in late can disrupt the flow of your meaning and diminish productivity with your entire team. So, it’s important you try to discourage any tardiness when it comes to meetings. However, having a strict policy can make your meetings a dread for attendees. And a policy that’s to laid back runs the risk of being ignored. You want to find a middle ground between being strict while also having fun. Coming up with lighthearted penalties for late members can help bring your members in on time while also having a good time at meetings.

For example, you can have late members recite a nursery rhyme if they come in late. Or, you could have them sing a short song. Something that’s fun and silly but that could also encourage your members to show up on time is key in this strategy. Or, as an inverse option, you can have a rewards system for the member to show up first to meetings. Offer to buy them coffee, or let them have an extra 10 minutes for lunch. Incentives like these will get your team rushing through the door for every meeting. Don’t let tardy members ruin the flow of your meeting. Incorporate fun alternatives and get everyone on track right when the meeting starts. Your association’s meetings don’t have to be a drag, even in the nicer months of the year.

With these 5 ideas, you can bring back the life into your meetings and create fresh new ideas to boost your association forward.