The road to effective team meetings
…is paved with good intentions: All team leaders want their staff meetings to flow smoothly and achieve their goal so that everyone can go back to their tasks feeling like they had an effective team meeting. More often than not, though, team gatherings feel like a complete waste of time and cause nothing but frustration. They also occupy unnecessary space in your meeting agenda. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Muse, executives find an impressive 67% of meetings to be failures. Maybe, a few meeting tips could save your team gatherings from failure.
So, what is everybody doing wrong?
If you too are wondering how to have a successful team meeting that doesn’t involve eye rolling and sighs of boredom, read the following effective meeting tips.
Keep it short and sweet
Successful team meetings are short meetings. A meeting that goes on forever has most likely deviated from its initial objective and caused every participant to fall behind in their tasks.
There’s a time and a place for pleasantries – it’s called a break. When you speak during a meeting, make sure to stay on topic and go straight to the point. That doesn’t mean everyone should put on their serious faces and not allow for a joke, but it’s important to not forget about the purpose of the meeting and wrap up irrelevant discussions quickly.
On the same note, don’t let meetings drag with iterations of the same issues. Deal with present problems only and discuss what steps need to be taken. When you get everyone on the same page, thank them for their time, and move on with your day.
How do you think you’re doing in the “keeping it short” front? Apart from our effective meeting tips, a time tracking tool like Elorus can give you a clearer picture of how much time your team spends on meetings. Think of Elorus as your most trusted ally in the struggle for time efficiency!
Coming to a meeting unprepared will only make your team lose time and the gathering pointless. You won’t come off too as a competent team leader, either.
To avoid this scenario, have your ideas formed, and the meeting agenda clear in your mind. Better yet, have your questions, propositions, and progress updates on a piece of paper or PowerPoint presentation.
Having your thoughts roughly mapped out will not only help you not stray from the objective of the meeting but also save you valuable time from trying to put your ideas together and articulate them.
Meet only when necessary
Another secret to holding effective team meetings is to keep their number to a minimum. You don’t have to arrange meetings every week just for the sake of having a meeting.
Sometimes work is slow and there’s nothing new to discuss. Or you might be facing a minor issue that could easily be resolved over the workplace chat. In such cases, prefer taking a rain check on that meeting.
Meetups are necessary when they are useful for the team, informative to the manager, and a team-bonding instrument for everyone. Otherwise, they’re just a way to pile up tasks on the side and induce unnecessary stress to your team. Remember, no one wants to have a full but pointless meeting agenda when they could be focusing on their own tasks.
Invite the right people
As a rule, listening to different voices and opinions often leads to innovative ideas and well-thought-out plans. Too many voices, though, will only lead to confusion and yet another unproductive team meeting. As the saying goes, “too many cooks spoil the broth.”
In this sense, team meetings need to be somewhat elitist to be effective.
No offense here. Every employee’s input is valuable when the matter in question is within their field of knowledge. However, there’s no point in gathering the whole team to discuss an issue if it doesn’t directly concern them or is irrelevant to their tasks.
No matter how skillful your IT specialist is, for instance, they don’t have the expertise to contribute to your new marketing campaign. So they might as well skip this one.
Bring solutions, not only problems
It’s only natural to come across difficulties when working on a project. A team meeting is the perfect opportunity to state the obstacles and work on a viable solution to overcome them.
Successful team meetings focus on the solution, not the problem. Attending a meeting with a negative attitude complaining about what has gone south is both unproductive and unprofessional. Join in with a smile and a couple of alternative solutions in your pocket to lift your team’s spirits and keep them motivated.
Encourage active participation
You’ve set the meeting agenda for your team. At the right time and on the right day, you gather with your coworkers and start conversing about the meeting’s points of discussion. All team members are in place and supposedly ready to share their fresh ideas and suggestions. Except that some don’t seem to be so eager to speak up.
There’s a difference between attending a meeting and actively participating in it.
As the team manager, it’s your responsibility to beware of passive bystanders and encourage active participation.
To that end, make sure to prompt timid team members to speak their minds and welcome all ideas without criticizing or rejecting them on the spot. At the end of the meeting, make a point of explicitly expressing how much you appreciate everyone’s input. By doing all the above, you get yourself an effective team meeting in the making!
Don’t forget to follow up
Your last team meeting couldn’t have gone better. Great ideas were heard and promising plans were laid out. What next?
What else than a properly timed follow-up to perfectly complement a successful staff meeting. Delegate the tasks that need to be finished before the next meeting and keep track of the progress, holding each team member accountable for the timely completion of their tasks.
Use your Project Management platform for enhanced team collaboration and full transparency. This way, you can guarantee that team members will work on their parts and the upcoming gathering will be just as fruitful.
Effective team meetings are not about keeping your team on track and hitting the deadline. They are about building a productive, well-functioning team where everyone feels appreciated and is encouraged to unfold their potential.
The guideline for successful team meetings comes down to three simple points: Keep it simple, stay organized, and join with a positive attitude. With these effective team meeting tips in mind, you can build the meeting agenda that works for the needs of your company. Now it doesn’t sound all that hard, does it?