Meetings can be one of the biggest workplace time-wasters or the key to keeping teamwork and productivity up — it all depends on how you run your meetings.
In this article, you’ll find the five steps to running an effective team meeting, as well as a list of the benefits of an effective meeting.
The first step to running an effective meeting is to establish its purpose and agenda.
Effective team meetings respect people’s time and encourage participation from everyone.
Well-run team meetings can improve team communication and morale.
Five Steps To Running an Effective Team Meeting
Have a Purpose
The first thing is to have a purpose. Why is the meeting being held? Is it just because you always have one, or is there an actual reason for dragging everyone into a room or on to a call and putting the outside world on hold for an hour?
A meeting is actually a perfect opportunity to achieve a lot of things. It is a chance to catch everybody up on what is going on in the overall scheme of things.
It is an opportunity to gauge how each individual is traveling and to identify potential problems. It’s also a chance to reinforce your mission statement and refocus everyone on the team’s goals.
Team goals should actually be at the heart of every team meeting. If your goal is to make more sales, then everything discussed at the meeting should reflect this in some way.
Have an Agenda
If you have a purpose, you must have a meeting agenda. This is a list of the things you want to cover in the time available. Looking at your agenda will give you a rough idea of how much time you can afford to devote to each item because time is an important element of team meetings.
They should start on time and only go for the allotted time. If some items on the agenda require more time than is available, they should be moved to the next meeting or, if urgent, a separate meeting should be held with those immediately involved.
Meetings should also be held regularly. Whether it’s every Monday morning (the ideal time to plan the week ahead), or every day, they should be held when you say they will and everyone should be encouraged to arrive punctually.
Meetings that are called at the last minute or constantly postponed are an indication that you do not have respect for your team.
If the purpose of your meeting is relevant to those in attendance (and if it isn’t, they shouldn’t be there), then you want them to participate in the discussion and be involved in the decision-making.
You can do this by going around the table to get everyone’s input. You can also mix up the roles, so that it is not just your jaw flapping all the time. Rotate the chair, so that those who wish to can lead the discussion.
People will become genuinely enthused about your meetings if they are encouraged to participate and can see that something is actually being achieved. They will begin to take ownership of the meetings by turning up on time and contributing to the discussion.
Someone should be assigned to take the minutes at every meeting (ideally someone different each time). The minutes are your record of what was discussed and decided at the meeting and they help to set the agenda for the following meeting.
A copy of the minutes should be shared with (and be accessible to) everyone who attended the meeting. This serves as a reminder of what was discussed and prompts those who were assigned tasks during the meeting to set about accomplishing them before the next meeting.
With the growing trend towards a more mobile workforce, holding regular face-to-face meetings is becoming less desirable for many teams. In this case, technology can be utilized to conduct virtual meetings via phone and video links.
People can participate from various locations, using their smartphones or tablets to log into a central meeting site.
If you are conducting a virtual meeting, even attendees in the same office should log on from separate devices so nobody gets (or appears to get) preferential treatment.
The Benefits of Effective Team Meetings
There are a number of benefits to being intentional about the way you run your team meetings.
Keeping individual team members in the loop. Having discrepancies on who knows what within a team can damage morale and productivity. By having regular, organized meetings, you’ll help improve communication and level the playing field between team members.
Providing valuable clues to potential problems that you can then head off. By providing a place for your team to regularly discuss challenges, progress, and questions, you’ll be able to see sticking points much more quickly than you would if that communication wasn’t there.
Helping to raise morale and engender a greater sense of teamwork. As long as the meetings are productive and respectful of everyone’s time, there’s something motivating about seeing how your efforts are bringing about something bigger.
In short, effective meetings can increase your team’s productivity and your organization’s profitability.
So what are you waiting for? Name the date, send out the invites, and get working on your agenda, because it’s time to hold a meeting and start communicating with your team.