We’ve all heard the meeting jokes, some funny and others not so much. “One of these days we need to hold a meeting about all these meetings we’ve been having”… “Jones thought he’d gotten widespread agreement at the last meeting when he saw all those bobbing heads, but it turns out was just everybody fighting the urge to fall asleep”… “We reached a unanimous decision at Monday’s meeting—everyone agreed that the meeting was unnecessary”… And so it goes.
Why have meetings earned such a bad rap and sometimes dreaded by employees?
The answer probably lies in the personal experiences of those making the derogatory comments and perhaps also stems from a lack of formal training on the part of so many meeting moderators on how to have productive team meetings. Fear not!
Here’s a list of effective team meeting tips—three major dos and three major don’ts—that will have you planning and moderating more interesting, more productive team meetings in no time at all.
Tips For Effective Weekly Team Meetings
DO: Map out an Agenda with Clearly Stated Objectives
Why are we having this meeting? Because we have one every Monday? Because your supervisor told you to have one? Not good enough. The best meetings are tied to one or more specific objectives. List them, in writing. If you can show how this meeting’s objectives point toward the greater goals and objectives of the team or even the company at large, all the better.
What are the necessary steps or talking points that will lead the team to reach the meeting’s objective(s)? Write those down, in chronological order. That’s the Meeting agenda.
DO: Set Expectations for Attendees
It has been said that humankind’s greatest fear is that of the unknown. Of all the winning group meeting tips, this one must be at or near the top. Communicate your expectations well in advance of the meeting. Share the agenda. Tell the invitees what they should bring to the table, figuratively or literally, and spell out expressly what preparations each should make before the meeting takes place.
Are there any other special considerations? Will the CEO be sitting in? Will the floor be sanded and varnished during the event? Let everybody know.
DO: Begin and End on Time
As important as it is to set the expectations in order to have a successful meeting, so is it vitally important to live up to those expectations. Doing so accomplishes at least three things, all interrelated. First, you establish your own integrity as a meeting moderator.
Second, attendees will become confident in their own ability to schedule and organize around that meeting. Finally, if you keep your word this time, attendees will tend to believe you next time.
DON’T: Use a Meeting to Accomplish What Could Have Been Done with an Email
In the grand scheme of effective meeting guidelines, this one seems so elementary but we suggest that it’s not always as easy as it sounds, especially to less experienced facilitators.
Yet with that said, it bears asking, “Do we need a physical meeting to accomplish this?” If the answer is no, imagine the smiles you could create by sending a memo like this: “In lieu of Friday’s team meeting, please review the following four questions and submit your written answers to me via email by EOD Monday.”
DON’T: Read the Presentation Aloud to the Attendees
Nothing makes a roomful of eyes glaze over faster than watching the facilitator put up slide after slide—no matter how valuable or clever they may be—and then read each slide, word for word, aloud to the audience. If everything they need to know is on the slides, email them the presentation.
Otherwise, learn to use a slide presentation as a speaking plan of sorts. Some individuals may wat to look at the slides, but many will be drawn to the presenter, who is relaying much more information, hopefully with enthusiasm.
DON’T: Squelch Productive Moments
Speaking of enthusiasm, from time to time, the group may seize upon a thought germinated by an item on the meeting agenda and fire off on a tangent in animated fashion. It’s good stuff and you know it because everybody is awake and actively contributing to the discussion. They are moving away from the established agenda to be sure, but they’re spinning gold as they go. Let them!
Take notes. Then at the appropriate time, gently steer the group back on track. The meeting will still finish on time, but think of the takeaways that were scored.
The Spring-Green Way
We have grown and nurtured our franchise family for over four decades. Whether our Franchise Owners are attending Peer Group Meetings, coming in for Business Planning or attending our National Training Conference, we understand the importance of effective meeting dynamics. Does this topic interest you as a small business owner? Call 1-800-777-8608 or visit us at www.growmygreenindustrybusiness.com to learn more.