Team meetings should serve as a time for collaboration, brainstorming, and team building within a business. They provide opportunities to share ideas and give direction for teams, but only if they are planned effectively. According to Zippia, organizations spend roughly 15% of their time on meetings, with surveys showing that 71% of those meetings are considered unproductive.
Meetings take time, so it is important to make sure that they are worth that time. Did you know that an estimated $37 billion is lost per year to unproductive meetings? Let’s look at a few ways to prepare more effective team meetings that your business can benefit from.
1. Focus on collaboration instead of reporting
Team meetings are more effective when the time is used for strategizing, sharing ideas, and collaborating with fellow team members. Weekly reports and analytics should not be high on the priority list when running a meeting. These can be easily sent out in emails or on company messaging platforms so that employees can review them on their own. By doing so, the team is better prepared to communicate with one another during the meeting about decisions based on the reports that were already read.
It is crucial to use meeting time wisely, so make sure to encourage collaborative brainstorming and the sharing of team goals and initiatives.
2. Set a meeting agenda
In order to have an effective meeting, time must be spent on planning. A meeting agenda outlines what goals are aimed to be accomplished during the meeting and how it is to be set up; this information should be given to the team prior to the meeting. Whoever is planning the meeting can organize the information themselves or utilize online resources for agenda templates.
The meeting agenda lists the attendees and location, whether in person or on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom. The team should also be able to view the meeting schedule; this can include the estimated length of the meeting as well as timed sections to discuss certain ideas or problems. This way, everyone is prepared for what the purpose and objectives for the meeting are before it happens.
3. Ensure everyone has a voice
Team leaders have a responsibility to create an environment where everyone feels welcome and heard. It is important to encourage each member of the team to share their thoughts and ideas, especially those who are not as comfortable with speaking up in public. If these individuals feel that they do not have the opportunity to speak, they may feel disengaged.
If there are those who do not typically voice their opinions during the meeting, at the end make sure to address each person specifically to give them a turn to do so. More reserved members of the team could have as great of ideas as the more outgoing individuals, so it is very beneficial to ensure that they are comfortable sharing them.
4. Ask questions that encourage discussion
When having a meeting, it is more engaging when the whole team is able to participate in discussion, rather than just the leader. Building team discussion through certain questions can make the experience less dull for those involved. These can include questions about accomplishments in order to highlight the great work each individual has done, or about challenges and improvements that can be made in the company. When everyone is working together through communication, the morale and productivity of the business can be greatly improved.
5. Implement engaging activities
Activities and exercises during meetings can help enhance the experience for your team members. Spending a bit of meeting time with a friendly competition of building ideas or reaching a certain goal can help spark creativity and build teamwork skills.
6. Take notes and follow up on action items
When taking in a lot of information, such as during a team meeting, it can be easy for certain things to be forgotten in the back of our brains. Be sure that someone is taking notes on important aspects of the discussion and sharing them with the rest of the team so that everyone is on the same page. Enabling automated transcriptions and recordings using Zoom’s built in features or third party apps can also be a smart way to capture what’s going on in the meeting without having to break attention to take notes.
It can be helpful to use a template or a project management platform to assign action items to certain team members so that they do not forget about them once the meeting is over. This ensures that time was not wasted on discussing objectives that never end up being completed.
7. Ask for feedback
Following team meetings, be sure to collect some feedback from your team members in order to continuously improve the meetings for everyone involved. Using survey platforms or simply asking your team in person about their honest opinions shows that their input is valued and respected. This also ensures that your meetings are meeting the expected objectives and are effective in their overall purpose. Taking this feedback into consideration when planning your next meeting displays conscious effort and trust as a leader.
Running effective team meetings is extremely important, as ineffective ones cost a business precious time and money. Using tips like these when planning a meeting can help make sure that the time each week or each month with your team is well-used. Collaboration and team building efforts make certain that each individual will walk away with new ideas and a boosted morale to put into their work.