Have you ever sat in a meeting where everyone wants to get their point across and nobody wants to listen?
Have you ever had a meeting and then wondered what it was about?
Do you face bored team members that react with ‘Here we go again, another team meeting!’
Do your team meetings start well and then rapidly deteriorate?
If you have answered yes to any of the above, then these tips will help you to conduct meetings effectively.
Often team meetings are regarded solely as an information-giving exercise. However, they are much more than this, in that it is an opportunity for people to relate to and work with each other.
The team meeting should be used as an opportunity to talk and catch up with each other. If it is purely an information-giving exercise you could perhaps look at presenting this in another format such as a written memo or an e-mail.
As a team leader part of your role is to make the team meeting inspiring. To engage the team members the meetings need to be creative, and not a ritual of repetition and paper shuffling.
All of the team members are responsible for making a meeting successful, not just you.
Ask the team to help.
* Get their ideas on making the team meeting animated
* Ask a team member to handle the agenda
* Get another to be the time-keeper
* Someone else can be responsible for chairing the meeting and handling and preventing interruptions.
Encourage all team members to participate using their body language. An encouraging nod, a smile, use of your eyes, etc.
It is essential that team meetings are held regularly. Ideally, this should be once a week or at least once a fortnight. When the team is working well, the frequency of the meetings can be reduced.
Meetings are both time-consuming and expensive to hold, therefore, they need to be well organised.
The starting point of making improvements is to clarify the intention of the meeting.
* If you just intend to hand over information, could you do it in a more effective way?
* The meeting should not be a one-way affair, totally dominated by you talking. There should be interaction from the team.
* The meetings should focus on goals and performance. This time should be used to involve the team in decision-making, planning, and problem-solving.
* It is essential to have an agenda that everyone understands. Allow team members to add items to the agenda and then distribute it in advance of the meeting.
This way the team members have time to plan and think about the issues in advance.
* Document all meetings using action minutes. These will focus on the topic, what will happen next, by whom, and when. That way everyone is clear about what is expected to happen next.
* Nothing is more demoralising than a meeting that starts late and overruns. Start promptly and do not wait for latecomers. By always starting promptly, people soon take good timekeeping for granted. Tackle persistent late arrivals firmly in private.
* Keep an eye on the clock and get the timekeeper to announce when it is a few minutes before each agenda item’s deadline. People will really appreciate a well-run meeting.
* You should have a strategy in place to deal with interruptions. Deal with any interruptions immediately as many meetings are sabotaged by various interruptions and people going off at a tangent from the subject in mind and other people then joining in. Stay calm and friendly and ask “how is this discussion going to resolve the problem?”
About the Author
Sandra Hinshelwood is a business coach and mentor. Drawing upon her experience as a virtual assistant and team leader in the corporate world, she works with small business owners and solopreneurs to eliminate feelings of overwhelm and empowering them to focus on their goals and visions with greater clarity.