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How To Have More Productive Team Meetings


No one said that getting everyone on the same page was easy. As many small business owners know, sometimes during team meetings it can feel like everyone is on a different page, in a different chapter, in a different book, in a different library. With everyone on different agendas, it can sometimes feel impossible to get anything done. But what if we told you there was a guide that can help you prepare and execute more productive team meetings? Keep reading as we review some tips on what to do before, during and after a team meeting to ensure its success.  

 

Before the Meeting


1) Become familiar with the equipment and meeting location  

Are you using a projector or running a Zoom meeting? You need to make sure that you set up and check your equipment beforehand so that the meeting can run smoothly. Also, always have a backup plan - you never know when your computer will randomly decide to have a meltdown.  If you are hosting a meeting in an unfamiliar environment, arrive early and scope out the area beforehand. Are there enough places for people to sit? Does your equipment hook up to everything correctly?  


2) Allocate enough time to prep 

It is important to give yourself and your team the correct amount of time to prepare for the meeting. If attendees have materials to prepare or read through, ensure that everyone has the time to do so. Also, make sure you have enough time to prep as well. You want to make sure you arrive at the meeting on time and prepared. This can really set the meeting off on the right foot. You will also want to give yourself time to mentally prepare and go over your agenda to make the meeting as efficient as possible.  


3) Clearly define the purpose and scope of the meeting  

As we mentioned in last week’s blog post, having a clear purpose for your meeting is crucial to ensure that your team stays on track and accomplishes the intended goal. Before starting the meeting, develop a clear purpose to help you guide the conversation and scope of the meeting. 


During the Meeting


1) Set the ground rules  

Once the meeting has begun, it is important to review the ground rules. This could include a quick overview of how people can raise topics, how they should interact with other members and what is expected of them during the meeting. Here at STEPS, our Chief People Leader often tells us that meetings are collaborative and that we are welcome to interrupt her with our questions or concerns. Overall, team meetings are based on respect, trust and communication and your ground rules should outline the importance of these elements. 

 

2) Watch the clock 

A team meeting is just one small part of the working day, and your team will likely have other tasks they need to attend to. It is important that you respect their time and try your best to stick to the time allocated for the meeting. This may mean wrapping up certain discussions early or not going into as much detail on certain topics. You need to judge the value of what is being discussed while also sticking to your agenda so that everything is covered.  


3) Be engaging and encourage participation  

A meeting shouldn’t be a one-way conversation and team engagement is highly important. A great way to increase engagement is to run some exercises or activities that get your team energized and give them the opportunity to collaborate with each other. You could include an ice-breaker question at the beginning of each of your meetings. For example, what is your most listened to artist on your music streaming site of choice?  

 

After the Meeting  


1) Debrief  

Ask for feedback after the meeting is finished. This could be a Slack room, a Google poll or an email survey to allow attendees to share their thoughts. You could ask your team if they felt that they were given enough time to prepare for the meeting or if they would add anything to the agenda. Your team members’ responses can help you model and adjust future meetings.  


2) Listen to Your Team 

Be attentive to what your team needs from your meetings and what elements are of the best value to them. These could be topics that you noticed during an open discussion or through the feedback you received. You may also want to consider allowing anonymous feedback to ensure that team members feel that they can be entirely honest in their comments.  


3) Show the Value of your Meeting  

Demonstrate to your team members that their time was appreciated and created valued results. This could be a follow-up message that thanks members for attending the meeting and reviews the important points that were discussed. A review email can also allow team members who were unable to attend the meeting to see what was discussed. Here at STEPS, we often have a monthly social media post on our LinkedIn and Facebook with a screenshot of our meetings to thank our staff for coming and sharing their ideas. 

 

So, there you have it, a comprehensive list of some great tips on how to host productive team meetings. By keeping these various notes in mind, you can facilitate impactful and efficient meetings for your team.  

 

With that said, all of these elements can be overwhelming, and a lot more goes into a team meeting than simply creating a PowerPoint presentation. If you are feeling lost on where to start, you’re not alone. Many companies feel the same way and there are teams of professionals that can help you organize what you want to accomplish in your team meetings and the methods that will best suit your team’s style. Here at STEPS, we offer small business support services and can work with you to create productive and engaging meeting agendas for your team. Learn more about what we offer on our services page or reach out to us on our contact page.

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