Ways to Improve Team Meetings

Team meetings are never an exciting time for most in the business world.  These meetings can be regarded as time consuming and usually not very productive.  Getting a bunch of people in the same room with different views and different opinions and getting them to come together for one project and one vision can always be a challenge.  Here are some tips on how to create a more effective team meeting:

Set Clear Objectives – This is very important when you have a group meeting.  The team needs to understand the objectives and be able to work together towards a main goal.  Give an agenda prior to the meeting and make sure to cover all key points. 

Be Timely – There must always be a set end time in your meeting.  If one point causes you to get off-track, table it for the moment and consider adding it to the next meeting to ensure all objectives are met and discussed.  Make sure the most important points are discussed early in the meeting to ensure they get the full attention they need.

Meeting Leader – There should always be a leader that is in charge of the meeting process.  This leader will schedule the meeting, create the agenda points, assign talking points, and to assign take-home tasks for after the meeting.  This person should be extremely organized and task-oriented, to ensure the team is kept up-to-date and on task during the meeting.

Meeting Importance – Many of us have been to meetings that we could have answered an email about, instead of wasting time actually attending.  Make sure you are not meeting just to meet; the meeting should have a purpose and tasks that require everyone to be present.  Useless meetings irritate everyone and cut into productivity.  Also, consider who you are inviting to the meeting.  If they are not an integral part of the decision-making process they should not be invited.  Too many people dilute the quality of the information that the meeting provides, so consider scaling back to the necessary individuals.

Accountability – When the objectives are clearly listed on the agenda, the group can know what will be discussed.  At the end of the meeting, it is necessary to ensure that action items are assigned to the appropriate people and that they understand they are responsible.  The following meeting should start with past action items and follow-up from the appropriate individuals to ensure they are working on the project they have been tasked with.

Bring Solutions – Many team members know when there is an issue in the workplace.  It is important to come to the meeting prepared with a solution.  Everyone can discuss different solutions, instead of firing down one solution that upper management proposes.  It is always counter productive to have negativity when new ideas are proposed, so try and have a positive solution to the problem at hand.  Discussion is very important in these meetings and a sense of openness is also a great idea.

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