Most meetings are about other meetings, and, as they progress, you can feel the growing frustration in the room. People need to get back to their stations and start working on their tasks, but there’s no escape. By the time they leave, everyone is frustrated and hardly inclined to go and be productive.
Team meetings are an essential part of any organization, especially during a project, but you need to make the most of them so that they are productive and do more good than harm. Here’s how:
Set the agenda
You should never conduct a meeting without a predetermined agenda, which should be distributed ahead of time. A team meeting is far more likely to be successful when everyone attending knows what to expect. Ask for input from those who will be attending so that you can be sure all the issues will be covered.
Set out the points for discussion in the agenda clearly but concisely. You don’t want to go into too much detail, but you also don’t want to be cryptic about what the meeting pertains to.
Make sure you have your presentation ready for the meeting ahead of time. When you do things at the last minute, you’ll come across as flustered and disorganized. Go through the presentation and plan how you want to address its contents.
No one wants to sit in a meeting and have a presentation read to them. You need to decide what you’re going to say as you work through the presentation. Make some notes of keywords you can refer to during the meeting to avoid forgetting something.
Don’t go it alone
A team meeting should not be a one-person show. As a leader, you want your team members to work together on projects, as collaboration is vital for success. Lead by example and allow other team members to present part of the meeting.
Give them plenty of time to prepare and let them run their planned presentations by you if they need some help. Offer your team members project management professional certification training, where they will learn the presentation skills they need for success.
Another critical aspect of team functioning is a collaborative environment, and a team meeting should be no different. Team members should feel free to actively participate in the meeting by asking questions, offering input, or making suggestions.
As a manager, never discount the value of what your human capital has to offer your project. By not allowing them to speak, you might be losing out on an opportunity to learn from them and identify and utilize their potential.
Adhere to timeframes
Despite the need to allow people to speak, don’t let input derail your meeting. You have specified a set start and end time for your meeting, and there’s also an agenda to work through. Lay down the ‘house rules’ before you start your meeting, including asking the attendees to respect timeframes.
Allocate part of the meeting to discussions and feedback so that employees don’t feel stifled. However, don’t allow anything to derail your plan and prevent you from sharing the necessary information.
Delegate the responsibility of keeping minutes before the meeting. Go over what you expect from the person keeping the minutes so that they know how much detail you expect. At a minimum, all decisions and delegation should be noted, including deadlines.
You should get the minutes of the meeting within two working days so that you can review them prior to issuing them to all attendees. With the commitments made at the meeting in black and white, you’ll be able to hold team members to account for their allocated tasks.