It’s Thursday afternoon and it’s time for your staff’s weekly team meeting. Chances are team members aren’t overly enthusiastic about spending the next hour going over mindless details. Unfortunately, many of the meetings we attend are boring, lackluster, and inefficient and end up leaving everyone feeling emotionally exhausted and increasingly frustrated. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to lead an interesting, high-energy meeting where team members work together to make decisions and solve problems. It all comes down to how the meeting is planned and run. The best managers understand the importance of team meetings and they know that leading a productive and positive meeting takes planning and effort. Here are a few tips for how managers can make the most of this valuable time with their team.
Demonstrate a Positive Attitude about Meetings
It sounds a little obvious but you would actually be shocked at how many managers are quick to proclaim their dislike for meetings. If the manager has a negative opinion of meetings, how could you possibly expect the team to think otherwise? If managers want to achieve significant results, solve problems, collaborate with team members, inform, and motivate, they have to be willing to spend time meeting with everyone to discuss these issues. You can’t manage people from inside your office with the door shut. Rather, leadership requires meeting with people and actually talking to them. Therefore, meetings should be viewed in a positive light by managers and not something to be dreaded.
Create an Agenda
The golden rule for leading meetings is preparing an agenda. If a manager walks into a meeting and tries to “wing” it, it is just about guaranteed to be chaotic and unproductive. Planning the agenda helps the manager to focus and identify the priority topics for the meeting. For team members, it gives them a clear understanding of the goals for the meeting. It keeps everyone on track and definitely leads to more productive results.
Get Everyone Involved
Many people would agree that meetings are boring and people are just “talked at.” If you want to lead a meeting that is interesting and engaging, you need to bring everyone into the discussion. You can do this a number of ways including group discussions, small group discussions, rotating the meeting leader, assigning jobs to each team member, or even playing a game to foster team building. No matter how you choose to do it, meetings are going to be more productive when everyone is engaged.
Develop a Less is More Attitude
There are certainly plenty of times when meetings are absolutely necessary, but it is should be noted that they are also breaking up productivity in the office. The solution is not to do away with meetings, but rather keep them short and sweet. Agendas are a helpful tool for staying on schedule and allow for a specific amount of time for each topic. The focus of team meetings should be reflective of the team as a whole. Anything more specific should be addressed in even smaller groups at a separate time. Brief meetings tend to be more productive because people remained focused for shorter periods of time. It is also an easy way to keep positive attitudes toward team meetings.
Spice it Up a Little
If you want your team to view meetings in a positive light then you need to add a little variety to the format. Consider inviting a guest speaker, conducting a learning roundtable, changing location, bringing in some food, engaging in a team building activity, or celebrating a special occasion. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but switching up the monotony will definitely lead to a more engaging and productive meeting.