The comments are often the same – why do we have “Team” meetings, they drag on for so long, we just sit there and get talked at, we don’t get anything out of it, I have more important things…”
There are TWO primary reason for holding regular team meetings. The first so you can update your staff with information you have and secondly so the staff can contribute information they have. Sounds easy but it is often hard to manage. The easiest way of managing any sized team meeting is to have an agenda.
- Have a start and end time for your meetings: Do not accept people coming in late, it is disrespectful to EVERYONE that is on time. That said it is essential that the convener is there on time and prepared – no excuses.
- Keep everyone’s focus on the points under discussion: Do not allow side conversations, these disrupt the meeting and cause it to drag on. No mobile phones or turn off. Do not allow people to do other work they perceive as urgent – they are either focused on the meeting or they do not come.
- Go through the list of subject prompts: allow everyone to have a say, but do not allow long discussions or let one point of view dominate or cajole others. Sample prompts: People, Processes, Products, Progress, etc – there are eight altogether.
- If there is a subject matter worthy of an extended conversation – have a separate meeting, ask everyone concerned to bring along relevant information ie be prepared with facts.
- If tasks are allocated: set an update/finish time and note it down. Followup at the next meeting, if the job is finished then everyone is aware that things are getting done, if it is past its finish date then it is about how to get the job done, (Although performance issues are NOT handled here)
- Design a form that is continuous eg: word document that you can keep current, while saving snapshots after each meeting.
- Ensure the meeting stays focused on tasks and does not become a gossip or complaining session.
Meetings conducted properly will be short, effective and generate trust in the manager. It will show the manager is Listening, Learning about staff ideas/issues thus, staff should be more willing to follow their Lead .
I have a template available in MS-Word.