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13 Creative Morning Meeting Ideas

Staff meetings get a bad rap as a colossal waste of time. Still, getting together as a team on a regular basis is often considered crucial to your team’s success. Avoid monologuing managers and daydreaming attendees. Instead, reinvent the narrative of morning meetings by restructuring the format and adding elements to make your time spent fun and efficient.

Mix it up with three kinds of morning meetings:

  • A quick check-in gets the team ready for the day ahead. Traffic, kids, spouses, bad weather, or forgotten lunch can make it difficult to hit the ground running. Take 15 minutes, a couple of days a week, to help each other to transition into the day. Stand up for this one! If you’re on your feet, words will be brief and efficient.
  • Schedule a longer (think: 45 minutes) weekly meeting on either Wednesday or Friday. Vary the day from week to week and set an agenda to stay on track. Use this time to more comprehensively cover your goals and track group progress.
  • Close the office for a quarterly meeting. You heard me! Give your customers advance notice and don’t open until noon on the day of your quarterly meeting. Review financials, schedule employee reviews and PTO, strategize for the upcoming quarter (and make sure to take a brain breaks every 30-45 minutes to refresh).

Set a timer, set an agenda, and avoid falling into a black hole of boredom by implementing a couple of the 13 morning meeting ideas below:

1. Bring breakfast!

Food is the ultimate icebreaker! Is it a cheap ploy to get people to show up? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t appreciated! Mix it up with bagels and assorted spreads one week, smoothies and yogurt parfaits the next, and donuts and iced coffee when things are chaotic and require a rush of sugar and caffeine.

2. Start at varying times

Schedule Monday and Thursday meetings for 9:30 AM. The rest of the week should include impromptu get-togethers: pull the immediate team or department aside as a group for five-minute check-ins in order to share quick tips, new information, or to redistribute tasks.

3. Try a Team Leader “AMA”

Bring in the CEO, the GM, or the Team Leader for 15 minutes of questions and answers with the team. Give everyone a general topic in advance and keep it cordial! Face-to-face contact can solve a lot of issues.

4. Practice team shout-outs

Did someone finish a large project or get kudos from a client? Is it someone’s birthday? Invite your team to recognize each other by taking a few minutes to point out specific milestones, both personal and professional. This recognition goes a long way for morale.

5. Don’t shy away from identifying pain points

While “upbeat and positive” is the goal, everyone hits a wall sometimes. It doesn’t matter if it’s related to the busy season in your industry, a difficult problem (or client!), or a personal hurdle. This gives your team members the opportunity to name a pain point when it happens. It’s important for people to let it out and feel heard, even if it is not necessarily work-related.

6. Keep things fun with a game of Jenga

After all, nothing says “teamwork” like building with blocks! It’s a game that requires patience, strategy, and a grasp of spatial relationships. The traditional version is great fun but you haven’t lived until you’ve played Jenga XXL, which can be played into an 8’ tower.

7. Try a word association game to inspire quick-thinking

Responses in morning meetings aren’t known for being quick, which is why word association games have the potential to dissolve into a lot of laughs. Take turns throwing a Koosh ball around the meeting room. The first thrower chooses the first word, and the catcher has three seconds to come up with an associated word and throw the Koosh at someone else. Players are eliminated if they repeat a word, the word doesn’t fit, or they can’t come up with one at all. Make sure to throw gently! No need to sacrifice a well-deserved cup of coffee by being too aggressive.

8. Plan a friendly debate

Introduce personal but non-invasive questions to the group. What was the first concert you attended? What’s the last book you read? If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?When conversations start about the value of metal vs. pop or whether the book or the movie was better, let it happen! Comfortable coworkers are engaged coworkers.

9. Change it up and play some unexpected six-cup

You may have called it by a different name in college but everyone knows how to play. Set up 6 cups of water at either end of the conference table, then teams alternate tossing ping pong balls into cups from opposite ends. When a ball lands in the cup, remove the cup from play. The first team to eliminate all of the opposing team’s cups wins!

10. Encourage everyone to share some news

Nudge your team to share things that are loosely related to your industry: tax law changes for accountants, or the opening of a new restaurant for hospitality pros. Client news is fair game, too! Sharing personal/business tidbits — business acquisitions, re-branding, marriage or a new baby — are also a great way to continue empathetic contact between you and your customers.

11. Start a community service brainstorm

Supporting the greater good is a great motivator! Team members have the opportunity to give a sales pitch for a charitable organization to support for that month. Describe the mission and vision of the organization and how the company can best support them. Create a team for a charity walk, buy a table at a fundraising dinner, or have an office initiative to collect small donations in exchange for “privileges” (dressing down, a better parking space, extra minutes of PTO).

12. Step outside!

Simple, right? However, depending on the weather and the intensity of the meeting, fresh air is never a bad idea. It doesn’t matter if it’s a picnic table outside or a trip up to the roof of the building. Get out of your physical comfort zone and see things from a different perspective for a few minutes.

13. Stretch as a group

For a few moments, take a cue from your favorite yogi and remind each other to exhale and loosen the jaw. Unclench the shoulders and do a few side-to-side neck stretches or a cross-body shoulder stretch. Did we mention that, even during the busiest of seasons, you shouldn’t forget to breathe?

Boredom and lethargy kill creativity. Head it off at the pass!

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