business meeting
Creative businesswoman pointing sticky notes on wall with colleagues. Group of business people working on new project with many sticky notes. Young creative teamwork working at office.

By Meghan Belnap

Business meetings often fail to turn out as planned for various reasons that usually trace back to attendee disinterest and boredom. Although many meeting hosts deal with these problems by using expensive visual equipment or guest speakers to engage attendees, you only need to do the following:

1. Visit a New Location

The enclosed, dark atmosphere created by most traditional business meeting spaces, such as indoor rectangular and circular theater-style conference rooms without windows, often undermines the success of a meeting by stifling creativity and promoting sleepiness. Move your meeting to a bright outdoor space, such as a public courtyard, park, beach or co-working space, to promote out-of-the-box thinking and alertness. If your business provides products or services related to the location, maintain interest by using the location in examples when discussing meeting topics.

2. Start With an Activity

If your usual meetings start out with you confirming that everyone is present or rushing right into the discussion, then you are not creating the type of atmosphere where you maintain attention. Build excitement and interest with activities that help draw attendees into the discussion and get their blood flowing so they feel less tired. For example, start your meeting with physical exercises or word and picture icebreaker game activities. Additionally, consider sending attendees on a treasure or scavenger hunt that requires them to visit various places before going to the meeting location.

3. Feed the Meeting Attendees

Whether you plan to have the meeting near a mealtime or not, a complete meal instead of a snack provides the critical energy boost and nutrients that participants need remain alert. If you do not have a budget for expensive meals, spice up the meeting with delicious catered specially-made pizzas, stromboli, calzone and subs like those made at Ynot Italian instead of sticking with common snacks like candy, doughnuts and vending machine desserts.

4. Offer Special Participation Rewards

Cash, gift cards, physical gifts and incentives like paid time off increase interest. They also boost morale. Offer a tier-based system where you give small rewards to attendees who show up on time and prepared and larger rewards to attendees who participate the most, come up with solutions for handling project and operations obstacles or recommend methods to improve efficiency and productivity.

Successful meetings do not happen by accident. You also do not have to break the bank to engage people. Make your next business meeting a huge success by following these four simple steps.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.