You found our list of fun out of the box team meeting ideas and topics.
Out of the box team meeting ideas are change-ups from the normal meeting routine that make for more fun and interesting gatherings. Example ideas include walking meetings, field trips, and team Pomodoro sessions. The purpose of these activities is to engage and energize attendees, spark creativity, and facilitate team building.
These ideas are a type of virtual team building activity and remote employee engagement exercise and are similar to morning meeting ideas, virtual morning meeting ideas and community building activities.
This list includes:
- motivational meeting ideas
- fun activities to liven up meetings
- unexpected meeting ideas
- out of the box meeting activities
- fun team meeting topics for discussion
Here we go!
List of team meeting ideas & topics that are out of the box
Here is a list of creative meeting ideas to shake up the routine and engage employees.
1. Team Pomodoro session
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that involves working in 25 minute intervals followed by five minute breaks. To keep your team on-track and engaged, you can hold group pomodoro sessions. You could either bring tasks to work on and co-work together, or split the meeting or discussion into this format. During the breaks, teammates can chat, grab a snack, take a stretch, and recharge.
Here is a pomodoro timer you can use.
Competitions are one of the most fun activities to liven up meetings. By gamifying the gathering and pitting participants against each other in friendly rivalries, you can capture attendees’ attention and keep energy high.
First, split the group into two or three teams. Then, break up the meeting with mini-games and trivia questions. You can also award points for work accomplishments like delivering a strong presentation or sharing a milestone. At the end of the meeting, count the scores and give a prize to the team with the highest tally.
3. Outdoor meetings
In the same way teachers take classes outside on warm days, you can move your meetings outside to give your teams a much-needed dose of fresh air and sunshine. Simply designate a meeting space outside, or have your team meet inside and walk outdoors together. Keep in mind that there may be noise, and you may also want to avoid this format if you have confidential matters to discuss or presentations that require extensive technology. For the full effect, bring blankets or lawn chairs to sit on, and pass out snacks for a picnic feel.
Here is a list of outdoor team building activities.
4. Powerpoint party
Powerpoint parties are eccentric team meeting ideas that involve participants presenting on irrelevant topics. Before the meeting, instruct participants to prepare a slideshow on a subject of their choice. Any matter that is safe-for-work is fair game. For example, a teammate might give a lesson in ukulele music appreciation, an overview of The Great Emu war, or just share pictures of cute dogs they met in their neighborhood.
When the meeting begins, give each participant a maximum of five minutes to present the slideshow to the group. At the end of the meeting, attendees can ask additional questions or vote for the best presentation.
Reunions are one of the most unexpected meeting ideas. For this type of meeting, invite back team members who left on good terms to spend time with the team. Former teammates can catch up and re-ignite their camaraderie, and the surprise visit can be a quick morale booster for the team. Plus, the gesture sends the message that you value staff as human beings and remain on good terms with former employees, which can strengthen your relationship with your current team.
Former team members can either visit in person, or call into the meeting via video conferencing software. Be sure to leave buffer time for teammates to chat and connect.
Rewinds offer a chance to reflect on the past and measure progress. These meetings give the group the opportunity to celebrate and re-celebrate team and individual wins together. You can include work wins, team outings, life changes, and more, and can do the year in review or look back over a longer period of time. You can make a slideshow or video of highlights, or ask each team member to come to the meeting prepared with one past win to share. This meeting theme enables the group to take stock of accomplishments and can inspire the team to keep moving forward.
7. Breakfast meeting
One way to perk up first-thing-in-the-morning meetings is to serve breakfast. You can lay out a spread of bagels and cream cheese, set up an omelette station, fire up the waffle iron, or special order from a beloved local breakfast spot. Be sure to have plenty of coffee on hand to help wake the team up, and leave buffer time for attendees to get food and get settled.
8. Field trip
Field trip meetings provide a change of scenery and an environment that stimulates teammates. First, choose a nearby destination, such as a botanical garden, museum, coffee shop, or co-working space. Venues with free admission or low-admission costs are probably best suited to this format, since the group will be working and may not be able to have a typical visit. Plan out time to enjoy the space as well as time for discussions, progress reports, team building, or brainstorming sessions. Be sure to double check with the venue beforehand that accommodating the group is possible. Many spaces offer meeting spaces where you can hold your work. Also keep in mind that you will have to coordinate transportation. Best to choose a spot not too far away so that the group can carpool or walk over together.
For inspiration, here is a list of virtual field trip ideas.
9. Walking meeting
If you have ever found yourself saying “walk with me,” to a colleague during a conversation, then walking meetings are for you. This format ditches the conference table and stuffy meeting room for a track or trail. Movement can get your team’s blood pumping and ideas flowing. Be sure to give your team a heads up to wear walkable shoes that day, because few folks want to take a trek in heels! When meeting time arrives, gather your group, take a stroll, and have a talk.
You can walk a nearby track or large indoor space, or you can travel to a destination. For instance, you can go to a park where your team can play games or an ice cream shop where you treat your crew to small cones.
10. Guest speaker
Inviting a guest speaker is one of the easiest ways to make meetings interesting. These special guests can take part in the group discussion or give a talk to the team. The speaker may train team members in a skill, share interesting and little-known history, explain a philanthropy mission, or simply talk about a cool topic. You can gauge what subjects interest the group and reach out to an expert to pay the team a visit. Feel free to encourage employees to make recommendations from within their social circles as well.
For ideas, here is a list of virtual keynote speakers.
11. Support session
Support sessions are meetings where teammates can gather to talk out things that are bothering them or confusing them. These sessions are a type of check-in activity leaders can use to gauge group morale and take care of the team’s mental and emotional health. Participants can swap tips, talk, listen, and vent. These sessions are a way to build camaraderie and assure employees that team members have their backs. Attendees can bring up work and non-work topics, and this can be a valuable exercise for encouraging empathy among the group.
For best results, set ground rules to ensure that these meetings are a safe place where team members feel comfortable sharing, and keep conversations healthy and productive.
For similar activities, check out employee resource groups.
12. Mini retreat
Mini retreats are intensive team bonding experiences. Like longer retreats, these activities enable development in a structured setting free from distractions. Mini retreats take place over a day or half day and are close to the office. You can plan a getaway to an outside venue for the day, or find a secluded space in the building for the team to meet. Then, organize team building activities, discussions, lectures, meals, and other programming for team members to take part in. These gatherings are like mini conferences just for your team, and allow your group to focus on topics like professional development, current projects, and team building without interference or interruptions from outside influences.
Here is a guide to holding retreats remotely.
13. Working lunch
Working lunches are one of the most common out of the box team meeting ideas. In this format, participants bring their laptops to the lunchroom or a restaurant and enjoy a meal while finishing tasks. Keep in mind that lunches are meant to be a break for employees and that larger groups tend to take more time to get served in restaurants. Plan to extend the lunch hour to allow some time for relaxing alongside business, and cover the cost of the meal. Dining tables are great spaces for conversation, and meeting in a restaurant can feel more intimate than meeting in a conference room.
You can also hold a remote lunch where attendees eat together during a Zoom call. Here are instructions to hold a virtual team lunch.
14. Virtual reality meeting
Virtual reality has progressed to the point that professionals can hold meetings in virtual spaces with avatars. This meeting idea is useful for dispersed teams, especially if team members have grown weary of Zoom screens. Even if the group works in the same building, this meeting can be a novelty and a welcome change of pace.
First pick a platform, then design your virtual meeting space. Make sure your teammates download the software or app needed to access the area and know how to navigate to the digital space at meeting time. Then, gather digitally and hold your meeting in the metaverse.
Here are virtual events platforms to try for VR meetings.
15. Video game quest
Teams looking for new and different ways to meet can play video games together. Many games and gaming platforms have online multiplayer modes and built-in communication systems like text or voice chat. Teammates can complete missions together to improve collaboration and communication skills. Plus, playing the games can help workers de-stress and blow off steam.
According to The New York Times, even some executives use video games for meetups in place of traditional conference rooms or restaurants.
16. Animal therapy
Animal therapy may be one of the most appreciated motivational meeting ideas. People love pets, and employees will likely be much more psyched to attend a meeting if it means the chance to cuddle a cat, dog, rabbit, or other fuzzy friend while listening to the agenda.
To host this type of gathering, reach out to a local animal rescue or adoption center and ask about the possibility of arranging a visit. Many such organizations coordinate dog or cat therapy sessions with colleges and may be able to accommodate. Or, you can bring your team to the center to volunteer for a couple of hours and meet aftward.
Pro tip: Make sure no team members are allergic before you bring in the critters! Also, be sure to clear the activity with leadership, and be ready to clean up any animal accidents.
For more fun with furry friends, check out this list of office pets.
17. Work skills workshop
Work skills workshops are activities that help teammates develop work competencies. Professional development is important to employees, and making skills training the focal point of a meeting gives workers the opportunity to learn while on the clock.
Here are a few example topic ideas:
- Time management
- Financial literacy
- Navigating cultural differences
- Personal branding
First, find out which subjects most interest the staff. Next, find a pro to lead the workshop and set a date and time.
It tends to be best to structure these sessions to involve hands-on activities that allow for practice and encourage participation.
18. Battle of the…
Battle of the… is part competition and part experiment. In this activity, teammates try out different versions of a product and pick an overall winner. This activity is a fun way to start or end a meeting.
Before the meeting begins, decide on a category. For instance, cupcakes, apps, touchscreen gloves, or Chinese takeout. Each participant should decide on a different brand or shop to buy from. Participants will order the items online, or else visit a local shop the day of or day before the meeting to pick up the product.
During the meeting, participants will try each other’s items and compare notes before deciding on a winter.
You can structure the activity to be more work-related, for instance, trying out different industry apps. Or leave the activity just for fun, such as “battle of the cannolis.”
This exercise can be a fun bonding exercise and is sure to appeal to folks who make everything into a competition.
Here are more ideas for team bonding.
Recess gives team members a chance to play and embrace their inner child. This type of meeting is unstructured time where team members can escape the office and blow off steam. You can organize team playground games such as kickball and tag, or simply hang out outside together. Recess can happen inside too, with team building board games or indoor team building activities. Allow at least 15 to 30 minutes of free time. The point of the exercise is to give employees a break and re-energize the team.
20. Virtual lunch and learns
Lunch and learns are educational activities where employees meet on lunch break to hear a lecture while enjoying a snack or meal. These activities are common in the workplace, however you can get creative in the topics covered. Beyond basic subjects like time management or leadership training, you may consider more eccentric topics, for instance, tips on confidence and presentation skills from a drag queen or prepping work snacks with a chef.
You can also shake up the format of lunch and learns by meeting remotely. Even if your team works in-office, you can stream the session so that teammates can tune in from wherever they are in the building and staff outside the office can still participate. You can even deliver lunch to desks, or reimburse the faraway folks the cost of takeout.
Here is a guide to doing virtual lunch and learns.
21. Hourly check-ins
Hourly check-ins are motivational meeting ideas that can help keep team members on-track and on task. At the appointed time, team members will gather and give updates on the work and/or on their moods. This is especially useful on days of events.
The group does not have to physically gather for these meetings, and can respond to a Slack thread or group chat instead. The get-togethers do not have to happen every hour either, and can occur a couple of times throughout the day. These check-ins can give team members needed support and encouragement, as well as encourage accountability.
Here is a list of employee check-in questions.
22. Workout meetings
Workout meetings do the double duty of helping employees get exercise while accomplishing tasks. This meeting format can counter sedentary work styles and encourage healthier habits. The community element promotes team bonding. Plus, the accompanying endorphin boost can improve employee moods.
It is best to do a low-intensity workout such as yoga, hiking, or casual bike-riding, otherwise teammates may get winded and it will be hard to communicate.
For inspiration, check out this list of team workout ideas.
23. Brainstorm graffiti
Brainstorm graffiti is an idea-generating exercise that encourages participation from all team members. The one-at-time format of more traditional brainstorming sessions may make shyer teammates hesitant to participate. In brainstorm graffiti, team members write down all ideas at once, and then explore the different topics as a group.
To do this exercise, get a large whiteboard or roll out a big piece of paper on the floor. Then, give each attendee a different color marker. When you say go, teammates will have five to ten minutes to write down every thought that comes to mind. When time runs out, team members take a seat, and the meeting host guides the group through the mural of ideas. The host should touch on at least one word in each color to give every team member the chance to contribute.
Since this activity is time-limited and higher-pressure, ideas do not need to be fully formed and can be rough. The point of the exercise is to spark creativity, limit second-guessing, and get as many ideas as possible into the open.
For more inspiration, here are books on creativity.
24. Timed segments
Occasionally in meetings, one team or team member hogs the floor, causing other participants to have to rush through their updates. Skilled moderators can ensure that talking time gets divided evenly, however doing timed segments is another alternative. As each presenter begins to speak, set a visible timer for 5 to 15 minutes. Participants can challenge themselves to race against the clock and be as brief as possible. As host, you can save some time at the end and have teammates compete for the extra slots.
This exercise is intended for fun and should not cause anxiety among staff. If there is a topic in need of further discussion, then the teammate can have a private conversation after the meeting or the team can circle back to the topic in the future.
Q&A sessions give teammates the chance to satisfy curiosity, clear up confusion, and have a back-and-forth with an expert in the know. You can host Q&A’s to address upcoming organizational changes, for instance, rebranding or restructuring, or to get to know individual team members better, for instance, a meet-and-greet with a member of a different department or an introduction to a new team member. Higher management can use these sessions as a way to have dialogue with the staff, and can benefit from feedback and insights just as much as employees benefit from having questions answered. You can also host experts outside of your organization, and can facilitate Q&A’s virtually.
26. Town Halls
All hands meetings and town halls are not unusual in the workworld, yet you can structure these meetings in a way that is engaging, welcoming, and valuable to all attendees. For example, you can plan activities that offer a chance for attendees to get to know colleagues in other departments, or by offer employees a chance to guest-host segments. You can even have random prize drawings, games, and perks to incentivize attendance and participation.
Here is a guide to doing all hands meetings.
27. Buddy Up
Introducing a buddy system for meetings gives team members a chance to bond and strengthen relationships. There are a few different ways to achieve this end. For instance, you could match up meeting attendees to talk through prompts and complete tasks together, can pair up teammates for 1:1 peer-learning calls during weeks when the manager is away, or can invite another department to hold a joint meeting with the team. This format gets employees more familiar with more distant coworkers and builds stronger bonds throughout the organization.
Check out more relationship building activities.
28. Scavenger hunt meeting
Scavenger hunts are one of the most out of the box meeting activities. There are many ways to structure the activity. For example, you can open the meeting by having attendees retrieve materials they will need to complete a team building exercise during the meeting. Or, you can ask each presenter to submit a question relating to an important topic they will cover, make a worksheet out of the questions, and ask attendees to fill in the blanks as the meeting goes on. You can also hold a more traditional scavenger hunt as a team building exercise.
For more tips and ideas, here is a guide to doing scavenger hunts virtually.
29. Meeting soundtrack
Because meetings do not typically have music, adding a background playlist can elevate the experience. You can pick a different team member to act as DJ every meeting, or ask teammates for song suggestions to build a team playlist. Team members can also choose songs to play during presentations. Playing music can help team members focus and feel comfortable, and can eliminate awkward silences and set a mood for the meeting.
Pro tip: Send out the playlist post-meeting in the recap email or notes.
For inspiration, here is a list of team building songs.
Fun team meeting topics for discussion
Here are suggestions for topics to talk about in work meetings to incite lively discussion.
Moonshots are ambitious ideas that may seem impossible at first glance. These projects can drive innovation and push teammates beyond perceived limits. Moonshots can also be one of the most fun talking topics for meetings. Teammates can come up with over-the-top ideas together, and then brainstorm ways to make these distant aims achievable. The more outrageous the thought, the better. While not every moonshot may succeed, by striving for great results team members are likely to grow and achieve more than they initially expected. Plus, dreaming big is fun and can ignite the team’s passion and imagination.
For further inspiration, here is a list of books on innovation.
Discussing goals in a group setting can be fun and useful. Team members can give each other encouragement, and announcing the goal can create a sense of accountability that makes participants follow-through and take action. We recommend structuring the discussion so that teammates share one work goal and one non-work goal. During future meetings, check in and assess progress. This idea can serve as an ongoing discussion point and icebreaker activity.
It can be fun to make forecasts about the industry and the company, especially during times of significant change. This exercise can improve the team’s critical thinking abilities. Simply have participants weigh in and predict events and developments that may occur within the next month, quarter, year, etc. You can even start a for-fun betting pool and award the participant with the most accurate prediction with a prize.
Predictions do not need to be serious or long-range. For example, the group can make predictions like “who will be the next team member to get a positive review?” or “who will be the next participant to forget to unmute their mic on Zoom?”
4. Client catch ups
Client catch ups give employees the opportunity to learn more about customers and encourage the team to keep current with clients. You can highlight a few exciting developments at client companies in a slideshow, ask participants to volunteer news, and can even make a trivia game to reward employees who are most well-informed on client goings-on. You can even invite a client to call in and share their news within the first five minutes of the call, have the team offer congratulations, and generate goodwill between you and the customer.
Everybody makes mistakes from time to time. Owning up to failures can normalize imperfection and make team members feel better about mess-ups. Not to mention, stories about things-gone-awry can be entertaining. Team members can take turns confessing to mess-ups, and you can even award a fail-of-the-week. The team can comfort each other and offer advice and suggestions to help each other learn.
Hypotheticals are fun tangents to explore in work meetings. Team members can take turns thinking up different scenarios and challenging other team members to talk through their problem-solving approach. This exercise can help team members plan more thoroughly and consider multiple angles when making decisions. Plus, it can be fun to think about different possibilities, even unlikely ones.
Here are more problem-solving activities.
7. Personal updates
It is good for team members to get to know each other as human beings and to keep tabs on each others’ important events outside of the office. You can leave room in meetings to share personal updates. For example, engagements, births, house-buyings, pet adoptions, and graduations. Team members can also share less monumental developments like starting a new hobby, planning a weekend trip, or finally cleaning their desk.
8. New member introduction
New member introductions are a way to welcome new employees and facilitate team bonding. Each member of the team can tell a little bit about themselves, and established team members can ask the new hire questions or give advice. The new team member can also use this opportunity to ask questions, or just to banter with their new coworkers. These discussions help to break the ice and build relationships among the team much faster.
Here are more get to know you activities.
9. Work Wins
Recognition is an important part of the job satisfaction puzzle. Plus, hearing positive news can boost employee morale. You can dedicate time each meeting to acknowledging work wins. Managers can announce these achievements, team members can praise each other, or employees can toot their own horns. Starting the gathering with these conversations can set an uplifting tone for the rest of the meeting. You can also host an entire meeting devoted to talking about each team member’s accomplishments, like an informal award ceremony.
10. Today I learned
Today I learned is one of the most fun meeting discussion topics. This exercise encourages constant learning and empowers team members to share fascinating facts with the team. To do this activity, have each attendee share one tidbit that they recently learned. These snippets could be work-related or non-related, on any topic of the speaker’s choice, and can be serious or silly.
The average employee spends a significant amount of time in meetings. The routine can grow stale, and team members can tune out. Introducing new and interesting meeting topics and formats can reinvigorate the team and lead to more thoughtful discussion, better morale, increased creativity, and greater productivity.
For more tips, check out virtual meeting etiquette.
FAQ: Out of the box team meeting ideas
Here are common questions about out of the box team meeting ideas.
What are out of the box team meeting ideas?
Out of the box team meeting ideas are unusual and unexpected activities and topics for meetings. The purpose of these exercises is to add variety to the workday routine and to engage and re-energize employees.
What are some unexpected work meeting ideas?
Some unexpected work meeting ideas include animal therapy, meeting soundtracks, reunions, and video game quests.
How do you engage employees during meetings?
To engage employees during meetings, incorporate elements of participation such as games, quizzes, and questions. A change in scenery can also shake up the routine and make employees more alert and receptive to discussion, as can changing the standard meeting format and planning unexpected activities.
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