For many of us, having team meetings is a regular activity. Workflow can be maintained and enhanced in a team meeting by bringing individuals together to discuss an issue or choose a course of action. However, while some meetings are indeed productive and effective, some are not.
A team of researchers polled senior managers from various businesses and found that 71% of them believed meetings were ineffective and inefficient.
Meetings don’t have to be a waste of time. There are some best practices you may want to use to make sure of that. In this article we’ll share with you all we know on how to make the most of meetings.
The goals of an effective meeting
Effective meetings are essential for teamwork and productivity, regardless of whether they are held online or face-to-face.
Effective meetings should:
- Create a group identity and help each member understand their role in the group.
- Encourage a group of people to work together creatively.
- Refine individual concepts into solutions that work.
- Ensure everyone understands their role in reaching the group’s goals and deadlines.
Tips to run effective meetings
People can only work together if they feel safe and secure. These are the most significant ways to ensure that your meetings are always effective.
1. Lay out the rules
Establish rules at the beginning of the meeting to ensure that everyone feels at ease expressing and presenting their views while maintaining respect for others and not deviating too far from the subject matter.
For instance, mention the role of the attendees, how much participation you expect from them, how they would take turns, the limitations of the discussion, if they need to turn off their phones, etc.
2. Ensure psychological safety
Researchers at Harvard Business Review have deduced that high-performing team members have a sense of trust and confidence. New ideas can be discussed openly in a meeting where no one fears being publicly criticized.
For instance, you can use positive reinforcement to focus on a person’s success instead of failure, never publicly scold an employee, don’t single out and blame anyone, ask for feedback, etc.
3. Create a comfortable environment
It has been found that over a third of employees are dissatisfied with their work environment.
If you want your team to unwind a little more, consider serving refreshments, opening windows, or decorating the room if you hold the meeting in the office.
4. Use a secure communication tool
Regarding collaboration with remote employees and people outside your company, security and user access are two of the most pressing issues. Tools that facilitate communication are particularly vulnerable.
For this reason, you must proactively search for services that offer attributes like multi-factor authentication, encryption, and cutting-edge security technologies designed to handle intricate, collaborative platforms.
Microsoft Team offers both multi-factor authentication and encryption. In fact, it has an additional option of secure guest access. The solution provides organizations with the high level of built-in information protection that they demand.
Learn more about why Microsoft Teams is the right tool for your business.
5. Educate beforehand
In a typical meeting, a manager or team leader begins by reading the meeting agenda and sharing information on a project that the team members are unaware of. Meetings are supposed to be a face-to-face dialogue, not a place for exchanging data.
Using a communication platform, you can make data available to your team ahead of time, so they are prepared for meetings. This will establish a connection with everyone present and stimulate brainstorming. Aside from saving you time, this will ensure that you and your team are on the same page.
6. Give everyone a chance to lead
In most organizations, once team leaders are chosen, they stick to the role forever. However, this should not always be the case. You may want to alternate the team lead role every now and then to engage every single member of your team.
Despite its simplicity, this can potentially improve the effectiveness of your meetings massively. Keeping everyone on their toes and ready to take charge has many benefits as it:
- – Helps to maintain the meeting’s vibrancy
- – Enhances the abilities of your group
- – Promotes the development of original thoughts and perspectives
- – Motivates participation while also fostering ownership
7. Prioritize results over time
Creating meeting agendas typically involves allocating a specific meeting length. For example, you can set half an hour for discussing a marketing strategy or 15 minutes for brainstorming on new product features.
When you set a time limit for discussions, you may limit team members’ ability to participate in the meeting. Due to the lack of discussion and time constraints, many thoughts can be left unsaid and unheard. It may even fail to address many important underlying issues. As a result, the effectiveness of the meeting is reduced.
Instead, you can center the agendas of meetings around the desired goals. For example:
- What platforms should be used for marketing product X?
- What features should be included in the new product?
Announce these agendas, and only end the meetings when you get your answers.
8. Batch meeting topics
You can address certain topics in just a few minutes with your team, while others may require more input, stimulation, discussion, and participation. So, group the issues in batches when you arrange the agenda for your meeting. It can give you a sense of direction and help the meeting run more smoothly.
For instance, you can start a meeting by addressing several topics that can be discussed within minutes. You will see that getting things going with these will have an immediate positive impact. Afterward, you move on to the more demanding items on your to-do list.
9. Schedule meetings wisely
The meeting time should be determined by the tasks that must be completed. According to the research, strategic and creative thinking are most effective in the morning when our prefrontal cortex is most functional and we are the most energized mentally.
Our ability to develop innovative solutions to problems improves later in the day since we are less occupied and calmer.
Don’t forget about time differences between yourself and other members of your team if you’re working with a global team. Keep that in mind when scheduling meetings and other events on your organization’s calendar.
To keep your team engaged, keep the agenda as basic as possible. And even though we mentioned above that you should prioritize results over time, some meetings do require a specific time allocated to them. For example, team syncs, reviews, etc. This will ensure that all participants know their time limits.
10. Make meetings effective and fun
Meetings can be not only effective, but also fun! While you may need to keep a certain level of seriousness for some meetings, others could be more fun and interactive.
Many collaboration platforms these days are constantly improving their meeting features to make the experience as pleasant as possible. You can change your background image, turn on the together mode and pretend that you’re chilling together at a picnic or even send emoji reactions during a discussion.
You can also share your screen, suppress noise, change the background, transfer meetings, enable live captions, turn on presenter mode, use whiteboards for brainstorming sessions, and include some apps during meetings – to ensure you get the most of them.
Head over here to learn how to make the most of Microsoft Teams meetings.
It’s pointless to keep attending meetings that don’t accomplish anything. You’ll likely have to adhere to the rules of good meeting management. Have a clear goal, stick to the plan, and you’ll be well on your way to an effective meeting.
Practice the above-mentioned tips and see how your team starts to engage more. It won’t take long for people to start noticing how well you run meetings.