6 Top Tips For Leading Effective Team Meetings In The Office
Learn the secrets to becoming an effective meeting leader who drives more value out of your team meetings.
Team meetings are an essential part of the working world. However, according to statistics employees feel that around 25% of their time in meetings is wasted, citing bad timekeeping, unnecessary gatherings, poor scheduling, and distracted employees as key reasons that make work meetings unproductive.
When team meetings are managed effectively they can really help unite colleagues, helping them to brainstorm new ideas, share information, solve problems, and work together towards achieving common goals.
So, if you’re looking to lead effective team meetings that leave your employees feeling inspired and driven to perform better, it’s time to reconsider how you set about planning your meetings in the office. Here, we explore 6 top tips that will help you make the most out your team meetings.
1 – Send out the team meeting agenda beforehand
Team meetings can easily spiral out of control when there isn’t a clear agenda and structure for everyone to follow. Avoid wasting precious minutes getting everyone up to speed at the start of the meeting by sending out a clear and detailed agenda ahead of time. You might also want to forward your team any other supporting documents, such as project briefs, timelines, or reports. All this will enable everyone to be on the same page, meaning you can dive into the salient discussion points right from the start of your meeting. It will also give your team more time to prep and draw up any questions or talking points of their own.
2 – Set a No Screen rule
Meetings are only effective when everyone present is fully focussed. When people have their noses pressed to their phones and laptops, they can easily be distracted by incoming emails or absent-minded web browsing. It can also be incredibly infuriating when you’re talking to a room of colleagues who are clearly not paying attention. As much as possible, try to enforce a no screen rule in the meeting room. This will establish clear boundaries within meeting times and encourage everyone to concentrate and pitch in.
3 – Give everyone a chance to speak
Remember, it’s called a team meeting, not a monologue. That’s why it’s essential to encourage everyone in the team to voice their opinions and have their say. As a leader, it’s also important to safeguard people’s time to speak. Not everyone is comfortable with public speaking, and some may feel discouraged to express their line of thought when they’re being constantly interrupted by chattier types. There are several ways around this. You can make it a point to rein in anyone who is interrupting. It may also be a good idea to set specific time slots in the agenda for each person in the meeting to talk. This will make participation more official and encourage everyone in the team to speak.
4 – Don’t get side-tracked by random conversations
Anyone who has ever been in a company meeting, even when there’s a clear set agenda to follow, knows that conversation can end up following random tangents when not properly managed. These side-tracks can quickly render the whole meeting pointless if not handled properly. Should an important topic be brought up that isn’t relevant to the meeting at hand, you can state that you’re noting it down so that it can be dealt with at another time. Then it’s time to draw the team’s attention back to the focus of this meeting and keep conversation and discussion on track.
5 – Watch the clock
The truth is that most people begin to lose focus the longer a meeting goes on. According to a survey from Meetingking.com, some 91% of people pay attention during the first 15 minutes of a meeting. Between 15 and 30 minutes, active listeners drop to 84%, and that figures keeps falling drastically after the half hour mark. That’s why short and sweet will prove more productive in the long run.
To ensure your meetings are effective, make sure people (including yourself) are punctual and be sure to keep to the agreed time. Don’t go over the allotted slot as the team will get restless. Furthermore, when your team knows that you are respectful of their time, they’ll be more inclined to listen, pitch in, and follow through with objectives to ensure each meeting is a success.
6 – Agree on an action plan going forward
The ultimate goal of any team meeting is to agree upon actionable objectives to achieve going forward. So, by the end of your meeting it’s important to summarise all the key points that were discussed and set out a clear plan of action to be achieved by your next meeting. This will ensure that everyone leaves the meeting knowing which tangible tasks and objectives they need to work on in the coming week or so. To be more effective, take time to send out a follow up email with clear next steps. This will provide a record for everyone to turn to so that nothing is forgotten.
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