8 Entrepreneurs Share Their Rituals for Happy Meetings

April 1, 2015

11:00 am

Are happy meetings an oxymoron? Not if you take a cue from these startups and their awesome meeting rituals.

Our hatred of meetings is longstanding and, honestly, cliche at this point. GiveMore, for example, surveyed 1,600 people and enumerated our top 10 meeting frustrations. Sound familiar?

  • 1. Allowing attendees to ramble and repeat the same comments and thoughts.
  • 2. Doesn’t start on time, stay on track, or finish on time.
  • 3. No specific action items or walk-away points.
  • 4. No clear purpose or objective.
  • 5. Not inspiring or motivating.
  • 6. Not organized. No agenda.
  • 7. Too long.
  • 8. Repeating information for late arrivals.
  • 9. Weak presenter (unprepared, monotone, overly redundant).
  • 10. Boring. Nothing new or interesting.

A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that meetings are most frustrating for task-oriented employees, and you can see why from the list above. In other words, if you care about productivity and getting things done, you’re bound to loathe meetings.

But we don’t need an academic study to tell us that, or another list of all the reasons why meetings suck. 15% of a company’s time is spent in meetings, and most employees attend about 62 meetings a month. We need solutions, people!

We reached out to startups to hear about their rituals, including their good-luck rituals and Friday rituals. Now, read on to hear some suggestions for meeting rituals that won’t necessarily solve all your meeting problems, but might help:

“Every morning after our Scrum, we gather around in a huddle, put our hands in, and choose what word we want to kick off our day. Usual selections include ‘Start Up!,’ ‘FTSQ’ (f*** the status quo), ‘Metrics!’, or ‘Hustle.’ I’m fairly certain the entire day’s success depends on it!” 

– Scott Latham, CEO of Colabination

“We start off every weekly meeting with Highs and Lows from the weekend. It gives the team a great way to share what is going on in their lives that isn’t directly related to work, and can be a fun way to kick off the meeting.” 

– Brian Bosche, CEO and cofounder of Slope

“We have a miniature gong in our office and we ring it whenever it’s time to start a team meeting. When the meeting starts, there is always a throw-back picture of something funny that has happened in the past.”

– David Daneshgar, cofounder and head of business development and sales at BloomNation.com

At our company, we do a team high-five at the end of every Monday meeting! We all stand around in a circle. Someone leads with ‘1, 2, 3, Suitey!’ and we high-five the people on either side of us.”

– Philip Lang, cofounder of Suitey

“Hireology starts every meeting with what we call ‘Right Foot,’ which is where every person at the meeting states why their day is starting on the ‘right foot.’ Personal and professional examples are welcomed and it gives the meeting an optimistic start. Things that are heard: ‘My day started off on the right foot because I got to see my brother for the first time in 6 months last night’ or ‘My day started off on the right foot because I closed a deal that I had been working on forever.’”

– Erin Borgerson, director of marketing at Hireology

Early on during every Tuesday’s all-staff meeting, co-founder and CEO Chuck Gordon opens up the floor for people at SpareFoot to praise one another for working on a project, for giving a helping hand, or for any other praiseworthy gesture at the office. It’s a positive, public way to give an ‘atta boy’ or ‘atta girl.’”

– John Egan, editor in chief at SpareFoot

One ritual we have is having everyone ask a question at each team meeting. This gives people motivation to listen to others, feel that what they have to say is important, and engage in conversation about projects that are not their own.” 

– Patrick Freuler, founder and CEO of Audicus

“We hold an internal meeting every other Thursday. Every time at the beginning, we go in a circle and mention a highlight of something we think we’ve done well for the week, so that the rest of the team can find out about what we’re working on and we can collectively celebrate our successes. Then at the end of each of those meetings, we go in a circle again and mention one thing we’re thankful for – this gives us a chance to reflect on everything there is to be grateful for, ranging from simple pleasures to deep feelings.”

– Emily Webb, account manager at BAM Communications

Image credit: Startup Stock Photos

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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