Wondering how your team meetings can be made more productive?
Here’s the thing:
With a few simple and actionable steps, your meetings can be made incredibly productive.
And with this guide, you learn how to run effective team meetings… Every time.
Step 1: Does Your Team Meeting Have a Purpose?
You know how it is:
Most organizations have at least one weekly meeting.
That’s the question.
Sure, sometimes these weekly meetings are warranted.
But the point is this:
To make sure you run effective weekly team meetings, you should first ask yourself why you’re holding them.
How often should you hold team meetings?
First things first:
Do you need weekly team meetings?
Or would, say, bi-weekly or monthly meetings be better?
But… How do you figure it out?
One way is to analyze your meetings over a period of time.
Run test meetings to see which ones are more engaged and productive.
One month, you hold weekly team meetings.
The next, bi-weekly.
And by keeping track of what the meetings, you can soon tell which concept works better for your team.
Who should attend team meetings?
Determine if your meeting should be all-hands-on-deck or by department.
If your organization is on the larger side, departments probably make more sense.
Meetings are purposeful if you share information that can’t be shared in an email.
And when you have too many attendants… The information you share could, as well, be sent in an email.
Step 2: Set Your Team Meeting Up for Success
Want to make sure that every team meeting is successful?
Then, there are specific steps you need to take.
Team meeting purpose
Even if your team meetings are held on a weekly basis, they need to have a purpose- an objective.
And the meeting objective should be specific.
What is the purpose of the meeting? What goals do you hope to achieve with it?
“Meeting objective is to discuss project developments over the past 7 days and make a decision on the rollout date for the new website design.”
Once you have your objective set, it’s time to look at your agenda…
Team meeting agenda
Your team meeting needs an agenda.
You see, your agenda is an outline of the meeting- the points to be discussed in your team meeting.
And by creating an agenda and sharing it before your meeting, you ensure that you discuss your goal during your meeting.
So what does an agenda look like?
It can be as simple as information about the meeting time, attendants, meeting objective and topics.
The most effective agendas have just a few topics (five, at most) and a time allocated to each item.
This way, you make sure your meeting doesn’t go overtime.
Team meeting minutes
Aside from an agenda your team meeting also needs minutes.
Minutes are a record of the meeting.
So to keep track of your meetings, minutes are one of the most important tools.
And they are extra important when it comes to team meetings that are held on a consistent basis and that involve more people.
Our own tool, Minute, makes it easy to create minutes.
You have everything in one place and can easily share them with other team members.
But meeting objectives, agendas, and minutes aren’t enough…
You also need a follow-up system.
Follow up system
To keep track of tasks that were decided on in the meeting, you need a meeting follow-up system.
This is all about making sure your meeting decisions get implemented.
After all, without any type of follow-up system, your meeting doesn’t really make any difference.
That’s it- follow these steps and you set your team meetings up for success.
Optimize your meetings.
Step 3: Analyze and Optimize Your Team Meetings
Once you have a team meeting format that works for you, it’s time for step 3…
After all, there’s probably some room for improvement.
And those improvements could mean a lot for your workplace productivity.
So… how do you analyze and optimize your team meetings?
Analyze your team meetings
Your meeting minutes will be invaluable for your analysis.
Take a look at minutes from a period of time (like a month).
Then, determine the following.
#1) Do your meetings take up more time than they should?
One of the main reasons meetings are so unproductive is that they take up too much time.
So you want to make sure that your team meetings aren’t doing that.
Go through your minutes and review:
- How much time do they take up on average?
- If they’re taking up more time, why? Does what’s being discussed really warrant that much time?
#2) Do your team meetings have realistic meeting objectives?
Next, you should go through recorded meeting objectives to analyze if they’re too ambitious.
After all, if they are… Then, your meetings will inevitably be unproductive.
The best way to figure out if your objectives are realistic is to look at if your meetings keep to their time limits.
And, if everything around these objectives gets discussed during meetings.
#3) Ask for feedback
Ask your team for feedback.
What’s working? What’s not working?
If something’s not working, your team members will know.
Optimize your team meetings
When you’ve analyzed your team meetings, it’s time to optimize them.
To make them as effective as possible.
Optimizing your team meetings comes down to:
- Improving your meeting time (e.g. if you hold longer meetings than planned). Aim for 15-30 minutes.
- If you notice that your meeting objectives don’t work, create more defined objectives moving forward.
- Implement your team’s feedback.
Analyzing and optimizing your team meetings is an ongoing process.
In the end, to make sure your meetings are a truly productive use of everyone’s time, you will need to keep track of what’s working and what’s not.
Step 4: Create Extremely Effective Team Meetings
The thing is:
Once you have the basics in place, it’s time to take your team meetings to the next level.
There are different meeting formats you can use to share information with, engage, and motivate your team.
They’re all about letting people take ownership of their projects, helping them develop, and thinking outside of the box.
One of the most powerful ways to engage and motivate people is to help them see how they develop in their jobs.
And a great way to do just that is to make your team meetings a place to share their wins.
During your meeting, every team member shares their goals for the week.
The next week, you go through those goals.
They share their wins and goals they didn’t achieve.
This way, they see and get to share their development with others.
Plus, this helps people take ownership of their projects.
So ask people to share at least one goal during every team meeting.
These are recorded in your minutes and followed up on during the next meeting.
But sharing goals isn’t the only way to create effective team meetings.
Nope, solving problems is another alternative.
And not necessarily solving problems for someone.
But instead, encouraging people to look at problems from different angles and come to a conclusion themselves.
You bring your team together.
Everyone shares something that’s holding them back.
Together, you look at the problem and suggest different ways of handling at the problem.
This will give the problem-solver completely new ways of looking at the situation (after all, we tend to get stuck in our own heads).
Not only does this help people come up with creative solutions, but it also helps them get past roadblocks and feel a sense of achievement.
Here’s the deal… Your team meetings don’t necessarily need to be with the entire team.
Instead, why not pair up team members to help each other keep accountable and give input on each other’s challenges?
Or, a more experienced team member who guides less experienced co-workers?
The point is:
If you notice that a different format works better for your organization, you don’t have to use standard team meeting formulas.
You can invent your own.
Start Holding Extremely Effective Team Meetings
That’s it… Now you know how to hold effective team meetings.
There’s no point in wasting resources, time, and energy on wasteful meetings.
In fact, creating effective team meetings could make ALL the difference.
Now, over to you:
How are you planning on improving your team meetings?
Let us know in the comments below.