Have you ever led a team meeting and wondered, “What am I doing? I can’t wait for this meeting to be over.”
Who wants to leave a meeting feeling like they were stuck and wasted their time? Not me. Meetings should always be productive with excellent communication, strong actions, and the proper use of influence.
Get back to basics
If you find yourself hoping that the meeting would end before it even begins, it’s time to get back to basics. Revisit and explore how to communicate and bring your point across, bringing out the best in your team so that communication flows throughout the meeting.
Say ‘No’ to waste
A meeting should not be a waste of time for anyone. You should not organise a meeting solely for the sake of attending it. Meetings should have objectives, be productive and have outcomes as well as actions.
Meetings should also encourage your team to open up, communicate confidently, and feel involved in the team’s goals.
You do not want your team members to be thinking “Nobody even knows I’m here, I wish that person would stop talking, what is the objective of this meeting? What are the actions from this meeting? I would like to express my opinion but nobody will listen, it was a waste of my time.”
Managers, when you are running meetings, you want to be in control, build relationships and communicate in a way that can encourage the team to contribute. People need to feel comfortable with you, like and trust you, so that you can influence the desired outcome in meetings.
Meetings can be inefficient if we do not communicate well. We need to learn how to communicate in different ways to meet the needs of everyone in the meeting. If a team member keeps asking questions to get clarity and explanations, they are not wasting time; they just want the details. Be prepared and don’t get frustrated. Use the words they understand to get their attention in the meeting.
If you just want the meeting to be over with and want to get to the point, there will be frustration and conflict of interest between you and that team member.
Managers: Here are 5 top tips to run effective and positive meetings:
1. Determine if the meeting is necessary.
Meetings may be scheduled every week at a certain time. But it is also optional. Meetings take time and should only be held when there is a need for the team to get together, make decisions and act. Think about what you need to accomplish before spending the time and effort for the meeting to go ahead. Your team has enough deadlines. I’m sure they won’t worry if you cancel the meeting because you are on top of things.
2. Set a clear agenda.
Have a clear goal for the meeting and an agenda to keep it focused and brief. An agenda is a list that outlines the main topics that need to be discussed and who will be lead each section of the meeting.
3. Let the team know how long the meeting should take and stick to it.
Communicating with the team about the length of the meeting will help them plan the day. Remember that the average meeting is 90 minutes. Why? We shouldn’t lengthen meetings for the sake of filling in time. Also, remember that each meeting does not have to be at the same time each week. Adapt to the needs of the actual meeting.
4. Set a positive and productive tone.
Starting a meeting with productivity and positivity can help others feel comfortable contributing and actively listening. You want the team to be present and positive to get the results you want to achieve.
5. Consider your team’s strengths.
As a manager, take into consideration your team member’s strengths when running meetings to promote collaboration, skill development, and confidence. Get them involved in the meeting in a way that fits their strengths.
For instance, I always ask one team member who loves taking notes to email her notes after the meeting. Having follow-up minutes saves me time and makes the meeting less formal. I also make sure she writes the actions, deadlines, and who needs to complete them. They are therefore like meeting minutes but not as formal.
Our goal as managers is to have a team that collaborates. Let’s get them to look forward to team meetings rather than dreading them!
You can also include short activities or ice-breakers in your team meetings that can encourage creativity. My book Emotional Fitness A-Z for Positive Mental Health has loads of activities laid out for you and your team. Check out my book here.