7 tips for running effective team meetings

Today, it very common for employees to complain about being pulled away from their regular work and being made to sit through a meeting that likely doesn’t even pertain to them. Since these meetings lend very little or no actual value, it leaves them feeling more frustrated and interrupted than they were before their workflow was disrupted. The common question that then lingers across all employees is “Why couldn’t they put this on an email?” 


We cannot deny the fact that meetings can be an engaging platform for idea generation, collaboration on new projects, etc. but over time they have largely become a productivity vacuum. In fact, 90% of meeting attendees have confessed to whiling away their time by daydreaming during a meeting whereas 25% of employees use that time to discuss irrelevant matters.


When managers assemble their team together to hold these meetings, it shows employees that the organization doesn’t value their time. These messages pose a threat of limiting great communication and can create workplace tension. 


What gets compromised in the entire process is the team culture due to all the mindless meetings. So what can we do to ensure that we build team culture through more effective meetings?


Below are 7 tips for organizing effective team meetings –


1.    Be choosy about your meetings: The first step is to be selective about what your team spends time discussing. For example, if your team spends the majority of their time discussing project updates every day, you should consider setting up a standup meeting for through team chat. Team chats are more efficient and free up time. This way you can shift your focus towards reflecting and improving meetings that actually increase your team’s cohesion.


2.     Be intentional with meeting spaces: It becomes mundane if meetings are held in conference rooms as they can be intimidating and isolating. Innovate and try different places- host the meeting in a breakroom, on a park bench, or even in an open distraction-free space within the office like the garden!


3.     Be prompt and mindful: Every team member has their own to-do list and priorities.  So when you think of organizing an internal meeting, have a holistic approach and remember to respect people’s time. Always start meetings on schedule, keep them focused, and end them on time. 


4.     Stick to an agenda: The best way to prevent deviation in meetings is to clearly define an agenda for the meeting and stick to it. Since we all are familiar with how off-topic discussions lead to long meetings. Effective meetings begin and end with an agenda.


5.    Encourage constructive conflict: It is a manager’s responsibility to create an atmosphere where various conflicting ideas are invited & encouraged. Remember, the key is to make meetings inclusive so that all your team members feel comfortable expressing concerns or suggestions.


6.    Use brain-writing, not brainstorming: Brainstorm meetings usually tend to drag and are often unproductive. In these situations, get a set of sticky pads, and ask people to write down their ideas - one on each sticky note. Put the notes up on a wall where everyone can see them, and ask people to pick out their top 2-3 ideas (not their own ideas!). This helps people actually think about getting some good ideas in, and prevents the boss’s opinion from having disproportionate weight.


7.    Set the stage for more to come: While concluding a meeting, inform team members about expected deliverables or information to keep things flowing smoothly. Finally, ask feedback from attendees about the new changes to your meetings - to determine efficiency and gain transparency for the direction of meetings to come.


When team members trust you to have their back and further their progress and productivity instead of detracting from it, they go above and beyond to achieve and exceed expectations.

Author- Sam Mallikaarjun,  Chief Revenue Officer, Flock 


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