7 Tips to Make Team Meetings Productive
Productivity is an essential metric for businesses. Without high performance levels, targets aren’t met, and the bottom line can be affected, potentially jeopardizing the company. Some methods can keep performance levels high. For example, time tracking software like the PK4 TimeTracker will help make time management easier and limit wasted time.
Individual employees must work together as a team for maximum project management effectiveness. However, getting individuals to work together can be easier said than done, with meetings often necessary to help the team gel as a unit.
Regular meetings can help make team management easier and boost productivity by getting everybody together and discussing roles and processes. Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your team meetings.
1. Create An Agenda
No meetings should begin without a meeting agenda. You should also send a message to others beforehand to ask if there’s anything they’d like to add to the schedule. Once you’ve created your agenda, you should ensure that everybody has a copy before the meeting starts.
An agenda is important because it helps ensure that everything is covered. A plan will also help ensure there’s enough time to cover everything, and it also helps you allocate time to agenda items to ensure they don’t’ run over.
During a meeting, it’s easy for people to come up with ideas that are not on the agenda, which could derail the meeting. However, such ideas may be valuable and should not be wasted. A solution to the issue is the parking lot technique that lets ideas be ‘parked’ so they can be revisited later.
2. Create the Right Environment
For a meeting to be constructive, it needs to be held in the right environment. The right environment means being in a place where you are not disturbed and where everybody has the opportunity to speak freely. Also, make sure that there’s plenty of space, everybody is comfortable, and you have all the tools you need.
In some cases, it can be constructive to hold team meetings in a casual environment with beanbags and other comfortable sitting arrangements. Helping people relax can help them think easier, helping their creativity to come out.
If your meeting involves remote workers, make sure all the equipment is in place at both ends. It’s a good idea to check equipment first to help ensure audio and video is clear and any other required functionality is working.
3. Assign Meeting Roles
Some meeting attendees should be given specific roles that will help ensure the meeting goes smoothly and is productive. The manager will usually lead the meeting, while other important roles include note-taking and time keeping.
It can also be a great idea in some meetings to assign somebody the role of devil’s advocate. This person will have the responsibility of challenging ideas to provoke thought. The devil’s advocate doesn’t necessarily have to disagree with ideas they are challenging – it’s more of a brainstorming exercise.
4. Talk About Teamwork Not Reports
Team meetings should ideally be about teamwork and work priorities. For example, team meetings should cover matters like roles within the team and if there is anything team members can do to be helping each other more.
It might be tempting to use a team meeting to distribute reports on project management, but this would be a waste of valuable time. Instead, reports can be sent before the meeting is held, so time is spent on more productive discussions. It’s a good idea to send the reports in plenty of time, so everybody has a chance to read them.
5. Assign Accountability
It’s all very well talking about what needs to be done, but one of the key issues is ensuring people know who is responsible. During the meeting make sure to assign accountability to the appropriate people so everybody understands who is responsible. Not only does this help the person responsible understand their role, but it also helps the rest of the team understand their position in the group. Assigning accountability during a meeting is also effective team management because it allows people to voice any concerns they might have.
6. Ask For Feedback
No meetings should be a monologue coming from the meeting leader. Instead, they should be an opportunity for everybody to get involved and say their piece. Not only should you allow people to speak, but you should actively encourage them to speak. If needed, make sure to address everybody individually to make sure they know they have a voice.
Active listening is also very important for workplace management. Active listening means letting people speak and considering everything they are saying. Don’t be too quick to pass something off if it doesn’t sit well to begin with; the person speaking might have a very good point.
7. Make Meetings Fun
Meetings can become boring and, when things get boring, even the most attentive of people can begin to drift away. However, if you make your team meetings fun, then you’re likely to keep everybody’s attention. So add some wit to your meetings to help make them enjoyable, while you can also try role play for a fun way to help team members understand other people’s roles in the team.
Of course, it’s important to remain professional and ensure that everything is covered. If things start getting a little too rowdy, it’s best to bring everybody’s attention back to work priorities.
These are just a few tips that will help ensure that you get as much as possible from your meetings. Different types of organizations will need to adopt different models according to the nature of their work. For example, some will need to focus on creativity during their team meetings, while others will have more of a focus on technical issues.
Regardless, if you prepare and execute your meetings accordingly, they should help make project management easier. Do share any other tips that you find useful to make meetings more productive.
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