There is a subtle nuance to running successful team meetings. Whether it is gathering team members together or holding their attention, meetings take some experience and know-how to get the most out of them. Since time is crucial, squeezing every ounce of value out of a meeting is important. We’ve developed a list of tips that will help you put it all together and pull off a successful team meeting.
Prepare ahead of time
This goes without saying most of the time, but preparing ahead of time for meetings will ensure that you give yourself enough time to say what you need to say. You can’t effectively organize and lead a team of people if you don’t do some planning. Going into a meeting without first defining what your intentions are will set the wrong tone and leave you wondering what went wrong.
Set reasonable meeting goals
Have you ever sat in a meeting that dragged on for hours on end, where most of the conversation was off topic? Avoid this pitfall by establishing reasonable goals. Meetings without goals or objectives run amok. They can quickly become derailed by something someone says, or by a distraction. By outlining clearly-defined goals ahead of time and sticking to them, your team meetings will go off without a hitch. Of course, sometimes off-topic discussion can be helpful to establish some context or ease tension if the subject is difficult to talk about. However, it is usually a better idea to stick with the plan rather than deviate from it.
Get your team to participate
Meetings that are spear-headed by a single person may keep goals on track, but they can make things feel rather one-sided. If you’re the only person talking, it is a good idea to get some feedback or ideas by opening up the discussion with your team to see what they think. Every perspective is valuable.
Meetings can be fun!
Don’t assume that a meeting needs to be boring or serious. Depending on the established goals, a meeting can be just as much fun as it is productive. Try to tie in a fun introductory game at the beginning of meetings to encourage a smile from your team before you get to the serious stuff. Use ice breakers if the meeting is about new team members.
Nip arguments in the bud
Arguments that go on too long are unproductive. Arguments in meetings, especially so. While you may be tempted to see where an argument might end up going, it is always better to nip it in the bud as soon as possible in order to stay on topic. Remember that disagreements and disputes have their own place, just not in meetings with clearly defined agendas. Even if the argument pertains to the goals of the meeting, you shouldn’t let your conference room to become a madhouse of yelling and finger-pointing.