Team meetings are an important element of any work setting, yet they often take too long to get to the point and thus take time away from your productivity. There are few things worse than walking away from a long and unproductive team meeting when you have a mountain of things to accomplish by the end of the day. Here are some top tips for how to run a successful and productive team meeting:
- Plan ahead: It might sound simple, but too often team leaders fall into the routine of having a weekly meeting without developing an agenda for the meeting. Take some time to plan your meeting agenda before sending out invites. Knowing what you want to cover ahead of time helps you determine who needs to be present and what materials they should bring. In addition, determine how long you want to spend on each item on the agenda.
- Prepare your team: Once you have an agenda, send it out to your team so they know exactly what to expect. Tell them your time frame so they know how much time to block off for the meeting.
- Stick to your agenda and schedule: Planning can only take you so far. Once your meeting begins, stick to your agenda and schedule. If you devoted only 10 minutes to point A on your agenda, then stop the discussion at 10 minutes and move on to point B. You can always follow up with key people later if you were unable to delve into a point as much as you wanted during the meeting, and if you end up with extra time at the end of the meeting, you can go back to topics that warrant more discussion.
- Get everyone involved: The point of holding a team meeting is to discuss things as a team, so make sure everyone is involved. Ask someone who has remained quiet for his or her opinion, and encourage discussion between team members. Meetings that offer everyone a chance to voice their opinions and insight are much more productive than meetings that only have one or two voices in conversation.
- Actively listen: Lean in, make eye contact, nod your head when your team members are talking. Make notes and ask follow-up questions. Your participation as an active listener will set the tone for your team members, who will naturally follow your lead.
Meetings don't have to be a waste of time, and they don't have to be long. Setting an agenda and schedule will go a long way toward minimizing the amount of time you spend in a meeting. Your participation and engagement will give your team members an example of how to participate. Use these tips at your next team meeting to host a meeting that is productive and successful for everyone involved.
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