How to Keep People Engaged in a Meeting

How to Keep People Engaged in a Meeting

Let’s face it, meetings aren’t everyone’s cup of tea – especially if they are becoming a regular occurrence.

However, they are part and parcel of working life, so it’s important that you help every person get the most out of their time away from their desk.

The question is; how on earth do you do this?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Types of people

Before we can delve into the how, first, it’s important that you get to know the types of personalities you’ll face.

While every business is different, there’s usually a common theme you can identify as a manager.

Which in turn, should make it easier for you to rectify any issues and keep everyone engaged from start to finish.

Here are 10 types you should look out for:

The over-excited strategist They have the ability to turn a five-minute catch-up into a five-hour comprehensive, strategic session.

The rambler This person will go on and on, looking for ways to make themselves stand out from the crowd.

The latecomer This person will usually have too much on their plate and end up turning up at the most inappropriate time.

The unprepared You’ll find this person scrambling through their notebook and pausing a lot. This usually means that they’ve completely forgotten about the meeting.

The walking cliché This employee will often contribute by rattling off a load of clichés or jargon to make themselves sound like the real deal.

The daydreamer This employee will usually sound like the unprepared when you ask them a question. However, their awkward pause is down to the fact that they’ve been dreaming about what they’re having for dinner later for the past ten minutes.

The argumentative Often aggressive and loudest just to try and get their point across.

The fidget They’re the ones in the corner squeaking their chairs and tapping their foot.

The constant interrupter You’ll be in mid-flow and this person will unexpectedly jump in.

The techno-addict You may get one employee constantly pulling out their phone.

You can read more about these kinds of employees in our previous blog: ’10 People You Don’t Want to Get Stuck in a Meeting With’.

Ways to keep everyone engaged

While eradicating the behaviours of ‘the walking cliché’ and ‘the argumentative’ might be a little bit trickier to achieve, there are ways of managing every type of personality.

Don’t start again for ‘the latecomer’

A latecomer will always be late for whatever reason. Naturally, you will have to address this afterwards, but for the sake of the meeting, don’t repeat what you’ve already discussed.

A cinema won’t restart a film just because a couple of customers are late. It’s up to them to find out what they’ve missed in their own time.

Plus it isn’t fair on the ones who were punctual.

Get active

If you’re conducting a long meeting, fidgets and daydreamers will start to emerge.

Keep things fresh and spontaneous by finishing a topic and getting everyone to stand up and do some gentle exercises.

Whether it’s getting them to do Pat-A-Cake or do a few star jumps, this will undoubtedly make people smile and stimulate unengaged brains.

Collect phones

Before you start the meeting, ask everyone to place their phones into a bowl.

This will stop those pesky techno-addicts from messaging and answering calls half-way through.

The word game

Another fun way to engage employees is to try playing the word game.

Simply get everyone to come up with a word the person to their left or right isn’t allowed to say throughout the meeting.

If they do use it at any point, they will get a point next to their name. Whoever has the least amount of points at the end wins a star prize.

By doing this, you can encourage employees to stop the walking clichés from using the same turn of phrase or jargon – hallelujah!

You could even put the daydreamer in charge of scorekeeping to ensure they are on the ball throughout the whole meeting.

Time segments

The rambler and over-excited strategist are a real nuisance when you’re trying to stick to a tight agenda.

So before it all starts, tell them that they have a certain about of minutes to present their piece.

And after everyone has finished their segment, there will be a two-minute quick-fire discussion for questions before you have to move on.

This can also be quite a fun way of stopping the argumentative employees from taking aim and the daydreamers from drifting off.

In turn, you’ll probably find by making your meetings more engaging and interactive, the underprepared employees may start prepping for future ones, as they enjoyed it last time out.


Before you try implementing a few of these top tips for meeting success, it’s vital that you assess your team first.

In your next meeting, let someone else lead it while you sit back and assess your team’s behaviours.

Once you’ve established who plays which role, you’ll be able to formulate a plan and structure your meeting to fit the needs of your personnel.

Have fun!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments