10 Powerful Starters to Energize Your Team Meetings

10 Powerful Starters to Energize Your Team Meetings

In today’s busy and often stressful work environment, how a meeting starts can greatly affect how well it goes. According to statistics from Inc, most meeting attendees, lose interest in the first ten minutes. 

Starting meetings with something inspiring is key to creating the right mood, getting everyone involved, and building a positive vibe. Understanding the importance of these first few minutes can make meetings more productive, cooperative, and creative.

In this guide, we’ll share ten great ways to start a meeting, including fun icebreakers, motivational quotes, updates on progress, and personal stories.

By recognizing how important it is to start meetings on an inspiring note and using these ideas, you can get better at running meetings and help create a culture of constant innovation in your team.

The Impact of Meeting Starters on Productivity:

Meetings are a fundamental part of modern business operations, and their quality can impact various aspects of an organization, from team morale to project outcomes.

Inspirational openings serve as a catalyst for engagement and participation, helping to create a positive and motivating environment. They can set the stage for effective communication, creativity, and problem-solving.

Research has shown that the first few minutes of a meeting are critical in capturing participants’ attention and establishing a sense of purpose. When a meeting starts with inspiration, it can create a ripple effect throughout the entire session.

Participants are more likely to be attentive, contribute actively, and collaborate enthusiastically when they are inspired from the outset.

Ten Inspirational Meeting Starters

Here are ten inspirational meeting starters suitable for different types of meetings.


icebreakers team meetings

Icebreakers are great for first meetings or when people don’t know each other well. They’re ideal when a new person joins the team or during initial meetings between different departments, where things might start off a bit awkwardly.

Fun activities and conversation starters can make everyone feel more comfortable and foster a welcoming environment. Games like “two truths and a lie,” word puzzles, or team-building activities can ease tension and encourage a spirit of teamwork from the start.

To play “Two Truths and a Lie,” each player thinks of two true things about themselves and one lie. Players take turns to share their three statements without saying which one isn’t true. The rest of the group then tries to figure out the lie.

After everyone has guessed, the player tells them which statement was the lie. The game goes on with each player having a turn, trying to make the lie realistic and the truths unexpected to make it fun for the guessers.

2. Motivational Quotes

steve jobs quote the best ideas have to win

For your more formal meetings, it’s best not to use games like the icebreakers we just discussed. They could use up precious time and create an inappropriate atmosphere.

In formal settings where teams talk about performance or goals, like in retrospective meetings or when setting Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), motivational quotes are an excellent way to start.

Sharing inspiring quotes from well-known figures or thought leaders can boost morale, especially when reflecting on past challenges or celebrating achievements. Quotes that are relevant to the meeting’s focus or current obstacles can also provide extra clarity or insight.

Here are some famous motivational quotes that you can use in your inspiring meetings:

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.” – William Butler Yeats

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean

“If you want to hire great people and have them stay, you have to be run by ideas, not hierarchy. The best ideas have to win.” – Steve Jobs

3. Motivational Videos:

If there’s anything more effective than motivational quotes for inspiration, it has to be motivational videos! Audiovisual content can truly engage your emotions and energize you, often more so than just words. These videos typically share powerful messages about determination, resilience, and success that align with the team’s objectives.

If you’re thinking about showing motivational videos to your team in your next retrospective meeting, I suggest checking out content from David Goggins or Jocko Willink.

They really get me pumped up like nothing else! Just a heads-up, some of Goggins’ videos might contain strong language, so they may or may not be appropriate for your meeting, depending on your teams’ culture.

4. Life Updates:

This is a meeting starter we personally use here at Huddles, especially great for Mondays. We kick off every Monday meeting by having each team member share a bit about their weekend. It could be anything from a new experience, hobbies they’re into, things they’re worried about, or anything interesting that happened over the weekend.

This practice helps team members build friendships and excitement in your team, which is really important, especially for remote teams like ours that don’t have the chance to chat casually in the office. During workdays, our conversations are mostly about work, and we hardly get to know each other on a personal level.

So, this is an excellent way to strengthen our relationship with coworkers and make up for the lack of informal interaction that comes with remote work. If you’re also part of a remote team, why not give this meeting starter a try next Monday? I promise you’ll start seeing your coworkers in a more positive light.

5. Thought Provoking Questions

Asking thought-provoking questions is my personal favorite way to increase engagement, and it’s particularly effective in meetings where you need creative ideas from the whole team. Plus, they’re just interesting to think about.

Starting the meeting with open-ended questions that encourage brainstorming and involvement can ignite creativity. They might take some time to discuss, but it’s time well spent because innovation doesn’t come easily.

These questions can relate to the meeting’s agenda or broader topics to spark new ideas. Here are some thought-provoking questions you can use in your meetings to get everyone’s creative juices flowing:

  • How would you describe color to someone who has never seen it?
  • If time travel were possible, what would be the implications for society?
  • If you could upload your consciousness into a computer, would you?
  • If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be and why?

6. Podcast Discussions:

Similar to thought provoking questions, podcasts often cover topics that make you think and can be enjoyable to discuss, sparking creativity. Bringing in ideas from podcasts related to your work area is even better, as it can kickstart conversations and offer new viewpoints.

Choosing podcasts that match the goals of your meeting lets team members benefit from outside expertise. Here at Huddles, we’re particularly fond of the Supermanagers podcast by Fellow, which facilitates many meaningful discussions and offers plenty of useful advice in the realm of team management and productivity. Definitely give them a listen if you’re interested!

7. Book Discussions

Just like engaging podcasts, books can explore topics that get you thinking and spark lively discussions, leading to new ideas. While they don’t always need to be work-related, sharing insights from books that are relevant to your field can really enrich the conversation and bring in new perspectives. Plus, if your team makes a habit of recommending books to each other, you’ll always have a wealth of interesting reads to dive into.

Here at Huddles, we’re really into “Everyday Culture, DDO” – a book aimed at leaders who prioritize people development and want to see everyone in their organization thrive. It’s a must-read if you’re aiming to improve team dynamics and meeting productivity!

8. Song Sharing

If gathering quotes, tuning into podcasts, or reading books sounds like a bit too much effort, I have a suggestion that requires no prep at all — music! Everyone has a favorite song they’re currently into. At the beginning of your meeting, ask everyone to share what they’re listening to these days.

If it’s a weekly meeting, you could let them explain why they like the song or even play a snippet of it. But if you’re pressed for time, like during a quick daily stand-up, just sharing the name of the song for others to check out later is fine too. At the very least, everyone will leave work with a new playlist of songs they’ve never heard before and gain a little insight into their colleagues’ tastes and thoughts.

9. Turning on Your Camera

Virtual meetings can easily become dull, and you certainly don’t want your team to dread another tedious meeting at the start of their day. Sometimes, all it takes to lighten the mood is for everyone to turn on their cameras, even if it’s just for a quick wave or hello.

And don’t stress about your room being a bit messy or if you haven’t tamed your bed hair. Sometimes, showing that fun, imperfect, and human side of yourself is exactly what’s needed to lift everyone’s spirits. Or, if you’re playful like me, you can engage in a staring contest where you and another person turn on your cameras and see who laughs first.

10. Guest Speakers:

If you’re looking for fresh ways to boost your team’s morale or bring in new viewpoints, inviting guest speakers is a great option. Bringing in guest speakers who are experts on the topic of your meeting or who come from varied backgrounds can offer new perspectives and valuable insights.

Sometimes, these guest speakers don’t even need to be experts. They could be customers or users of your product, or someone from a different department curious about how your team operates. Often, just having an extra listener can shift the dynamics of your meeting, leading to surprising outcomes.

Using Huddles for Meeting Starters:

Ever thought about adding exciting starters to your meetings but never actually do it? Or perhaps you’re looking for a place to keep these ideas so you can switch them up? Huddles.app makes this super easy. It lets team members work together to create meeting agendas and schedule engaging meeting starters ahead of time, ensuring they actually take place. We even provide templates with creative meeting starters. Check them out here!

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