Team Meetings That Are Productive!
Meetings can be creative and motivating or they can be time wasters that the whole team dreads. It is a skill to run a meeting that is actually productive and efficient. Although some people are more naturally talented to conduct great meetings, it is a skill that can be learned.
Why not borrow the meeting habits of successful companies? For example, Apple believes that meetings should be small groups of smart people. If you are tempted to invite everyone to a meeting, reconsider. A smaller group will get more done, everyone can be heard and they can easily update the rest of the team that did not attend. However, don’t think that good ideas only come from managers!
Some common mistakes at meetings:
- Lack of preparation both for the presenter and the attendees
- Too many topics on the agenda prevents any in-depth discussion
- No clear goal of what needs to be accomplished
- Meeting so long that attendees start zoning out
- The person conducting meeting drones on and no one else gets heard; this is not a lecture!
- No effort to engage everyone to be active in contributing
- Attendees are on their cell phones
How can you avoid unproductive meetings?
- We’ve all been to meetings that were unproductive and a waste of time or just downright boring! Have you been to a meeting where they wait to start because some attendees are late.? This is not only disrespectful to the people who got there on time and are ready to go, but it is a waste of time for the team. Start on time and put the burden of catching up on the latecomers.
- Make sure there is a good reason to have a meeting in the first place! Some companies seem to feel that they must have regular meetings whether they need them or not. If your staff is humming along getting their work done, you may only need occasional meetings to check in.
- Make an agenda that is realistic and distribute it in advance. This encourages attendees to be prepared to contribute at the meeting instead of having the “deer in the headlights” look when you ask for input.
- If you will be presenting some new material, be prepared and show some visuals. Many people are visual learners that will benefit greatly from being able to see your ideas instead of just hearing them.
- Most definitely, ban cell phones from the meeting. At best they are a distraction and at worst they will be disruptive to everyone.
- Encourage participation but don’t allow an attendee to monopolize the conversation. This is a big time waster and discouraging to the other people at the meeting. Politely, but firmly move on to get input from others. If you don’t establish this from the start, your meetings will go long on time and short on accomplishments.
- End the meeting on time so that people can get back to their work. Follow up by distributing notes that documents any delegated tasks and the deadlines for those tasks.
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