Tuesday March 12th, 2019
You’ve likely found your mind wandering during a staff meeting at some point in your career. While team meetings may seem like a necessary means of communicating with your employees, you’re only wasting valuable time if your meetings are putting everyone to sleep. A bad meeting can have a negative impact on your team by halting progress and stifling creativity while forcing everyone to sit through a presentation that could have been just as easily covered in an email.
We’re not suggesting that you should ban meetings entirely, because of course there are benefits to holding a team meeting. They can be a great opportunity to realign the team’s goals and ensure that everyone is working towards success. They are great for strategy and process sharing and can serve as a way for your employees to connect. But if you are going to hold staff meetings, it’s important to maximize your time and make sure your team is walking out of the conference room feeling positive and motivated.
One reason that meetings can be so difficult for employees to sit through is it’s really easy to go off-topic and lose track of the purpose of your meeting. Sometimes questions are raised that lead you on a rabbit trail or you get caught up talking about one issue and forget about the other three you wanted to cover before the meeting ends.
A simple way to remedy this is to create an agenda before every meeting. Map out the topics you want to discuss and list a few bullet points to keep you on topic. It’s a great idea to distribute the agenda to your employees before the meeting to allow them the opportunity to think of any questions they may have so they’re prepared to engage during the meeting.
You may have found in the past that your meetings covered a lot of great information, but that nothing changes afterwards, and people go back to their usual habits. This obviously makes the meeting feel like a complete waste of time. To combat that, for every issue covered in your meeting, come up with a few action items that employees can use when they head back to their workspaces.
If you’ve addressed a problem within the office, make sure you give your employees steps they can take to remedy the situation. This will help you make the most of your meetings by creating accountability as you’ll be able to check in on progress for any action items you’ve articulated during your meeting. It will also reinforce the idea that everyone is in this together - the whole team contributes to the success of the company.
In addition to giving your employees action items to take from each meeting, make sure that you’re also continuing the conversation outside of the conference room. Check in with your employees to see how they felt about the meeting. Ask your employees if the information was useful and if there was anything you should have covered but didn’t.
Keep the conversation going by regularly asking employees if there’s anything they’d like you to cover at future meetings and allowing them to contribute suggestions for action items. Keeping your employees engaged on a daily basis will help ensure that they’re fully engaged during your meetings as well.
This is probably the simplest solution to improving your meetings. If you’re finding that attendance is lackluster or that your employees just don’t seem engaged during staff meetings, it might just be best to cut back on the number of meetings.
Find other ways to communicate information to the team - an email, a text or an office message station could work great. There’s no need for a meeting when a memo will suffice.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, get creative with your meetings. You don’t have to put out donuts and cram everyone into a conference room for it to be a meeting. Consider having meetings outdoors when the weather permits - maybe even a walking meeting where employees would have a chance to stretch their legs while brainstorming. You could even try a virtual meeting and allow employees to join from home.
Get creative about where your meetings are held but also get creative about what you do during meetings. Get rid of the PowerPoint presentations that do nothing but serve as a nap hour for your employees and try new things that will engage and inspire your team.
Team meetings are a valuable opportunity to get some face-time with your employees and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. Make the most of the opportunity by engaging your employees with creative, well-planned and actionable discussions that will reinforce their feelings of team unity and drive them towards success.