Even with the best of intentions, team meetings can often end up being unproductive and leave attendees frustrated at having taken the time out of their schedule. However, meetings can be helpful at helping you connect with your team and accomplish goals if you set them up to run more efficiently. Learn more with these tips for more effective team meetings:
1. Clarify the Purpose
Team meetings often get derailed or feel like wasted time because an end goal is not determined for what you hope to achieve by gathering together. Before you schedule a team meeting, clarify the purpose for it – status updates, brainstorming, decision-making, etc.
2. Ask for Input
If you want to know what would make your team meetings more effective, eliminate the guesswork and get your team’s perspective on what would be most helpful. Ask for their input, such as what topics they would like to cover, preferred formats, etc.
3. Prepare an Agenda
The most unproductive meetings are those that don’t have clearly defined parameters. Prepare an agenda ahead of time that highlights the specific topics to discuss to ensure you cover the most essential information and can guide attendees if they bring up unplanned topics.
4. Limit the Time
Ensure you are demonstrating respect for your team’s time by not making meetings longer than necessary. Limit the time – having a shorter duration scheduled is likely to keep everyone on task and not go off on tangents.
5. Invite with Intention
Not all meetings require every team member, and having unnecessary attendees not only prevents them from better utilizing their time but can also potentially interfere with the meeting’s planned purpose. Invite with intention and ensure only people who have a specific reason for coming are requested to attend.
6. Encourage Equal Participation
Team meetings tend to have some disparity with how much members speak up. Avoid the most outspoken employees from being the only ones whose voices are heard by encouraging equal participation, such as by making it a priority to ask specific employees for their viewpoints or having a question for everyone to answer.
7. Recognize and Celebrate
Get everyone more engaged in your team meetings by using it as an opportunity to acknowledge their hard work and achievements. Recognize and celebrate recent successes or milestones, so your team feels appreciated and motivated to tackle whatever tasks or projects are discussed during the meeting.
8. Keep It On Track
Take control of your team meetings and keep them on track. Be cognizant of when the group is skewing from the agenda or spending too much time on one topic, and be prepared to redirect the conversation.
9. End with Action Steps
A common reason team meetings end up not being as effective as they could be is because the required post-meeting actions aren’t communicated clearly. End with action steps – briefly summarize what team members need to do and when as a result of the meeting, so everyone is on the same page.
10. Follow Up
After your team meetings, follow up and send any key information for attendees to reference and/or as reminders of any action steps/deadlines. This will help ensure no key information is missed and that expectations are clear.
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