If you’re a team lead or a manager, you’d agree when we say that most of your time is likely to be consumed in meetings. Studies reveal that leaders nowadays spend nearly half of their week in meetings. However, some meetings are crucial to strategize better and make timely decisions, but some are just a waste of time.
Did you know that:
- A third of the time is wasted on poorly run and pointless meetings
- Pointless meetings cost companies across the US nearly $399 billion last year
- Poorly run meetings result in a loss of focus on projects by 38 percent
- 43 percent of the time, unclear meetings lead to confusion and slows down progress
These statistics show a tremendous drag on the effectiveness of businesses. If your organization is struggling with the same, then it’s time to fix it. Learn from the expert, Dave Luehr, some practical ways to lead team meetings in the most productive way that are beneficial for everybody involved.
Prepare an Agenda
The first thing you need to do to lead an effective team meeting is to go to the meeting well-prepared. Without an agenda, you will be clueless, and your session will be just a waste of time. The act of preparing the agenda helps
- Focus and identify priority topics for the meeting
- Keep attendees engaged
- Stay on track and avoid digressions
The agenda should include a list of items that participants need to accomplish at the meeting and achievable goals. Knowing this will further help you develop the framework for an effective meeting plan.
Share Meeting Agenda with Your Team Beforehand
Another way to ensure and lead an effective team meeting is to share your team’s agenda before the meeting takes place. This will give the attendees an equal opportunity to prepare for the meeting and contribute to the conversation, thereby delivering productive results.
Besides this, it will also help you build and promote a more inclusive culture in your organization where everyone’s contributions and ideas are valued. Thus, attendees will be more interested in being a part of the meeting.
Workaround the Meeting Format
Try to add some variety into the meeting’s format to make it exciting and engaging. A few things that you can try are:
- Invite a guest speaker
- Conduct a learning roundtable where team members are encouraged to teach each other something
- Carry a team-building activity
- Change location
- Conduct a brainstorming session
Respect People’s Time
Once you know your agenda and the meeting format, the next thing that you need to focus on is to make sure that the meeting is crisp and not a drag. It may sound harsh, but it won’t be wrong to say that that wasting time of the employees is equivalent to stealing from the company unless if the time is taken boost your team’s productivity and adds value to the business.
Therefore, make sure that the meeting is precise and held on time. Emphasize the importance of punctuality so that people arrive on time, and there are no delays.
Moreover, when leading a team meeting, try to set a realistic amount of time for each item on your agenda. For example, if you have many items and a big project to discuss, you need to value the time assigned for the meeting and ensure that everything is addressed before the meeting is over. Don’t leave anything for the last five minutes.
If a conversation on one item of the agenda goes on longer, see what can be redirected to the next meeting or set a time to follow-up on that topic after the team meeting has ended. Also, in such a situation, you will have to make some judgment calls in real-time. This means you will have to decide whether it is worth carrying on the discussion, tabling it, or getting it back on track.
Use Team Meetings to Collaborate; Don’t Just Share Information.
The real purpose of having team meetings is to find solutions to problems that the organization may be facing. Therefore, don’t just focus on sharing information; try to solve the problem and work with the team on arriving at a reliable and informed decision. At this stage, you will also be able to see if you have the team’s support for the decision you are about to make and implement. Hence, try to get their help and solve all the issues you can while working together as a team.
Lighten Things Up
When you are heading a team meeting, you need to make sure that everybody in the room is attentive, and the meeting is not stale or about showcasing authority. So, it is recommended to lighten up things with a little bit of humor here and there and stay humble during the meeting. Interactive sessions and sharing personal experiences related to the topic being discussed can make things more interesting, too, for everyone.
End Meetings with Clear Action Steps and Responsibilities
Think of the last meeting that you had with your team? The chances are that there were valuable inputs, conversations, and insights, but nothing happened at the end of the meeting. This is why it is advisable to define exact action steps and delegate responsibilities once the meeting ends. It will ensure that everyone has a clear perspective on the meeting’s value and what they need to do next to solve the problem discussed in the meeting.
To ensure this, it is your responsibility as a leader to clearly define the action steps, personal responsibilities, and time frame for taking actions on the crucial elements discussed in the meeting.
Once actions and responsibilities are delegated, keep track of it by following up with the team members. The last thing you want is to show up at the next meeting to find out that some team members didn’t do what they committed to in the previous meeting.
Also, when you follow-up with team members regularly, it will help them stay on track and make them more responsible as they will be held accountable for their commitments.
To learn more tips to lead an effective team meeting, schedule a consultation with Dave Luehr. Contact us today.