When you’re in charge of a team, you want to model effective leadership and a strong message. Part of that effective leadership involves communicating regularly with your team through meetings. Unfortunately, meetings can have a bad reputation because they take up time and don’t always feel productive. A good meeting is one in which people share ideas, collaborate, and make plans. Use these three tips to make your meetings purposeful and powerful.
Planning and Preparation
Never hold a meeting just to hold a meeting. Your meeting should always have a purpose. If you decide to hold regular staff meetings every Tuesday but don’t have things to talk about, your team is going to wonder why you’re wasting their time. Prepare an agenda in advance and distribute it at least one day before the meeting. If there is reading material or other preparations to be made, try to get the agenda out even earlier. An agenda gives attendees an idea of what is going to be covered at the meeting as well as an estimated timeframe. If you are calling a special meeting, consider who needs to be there. Not everyone may need to attend, and your team members will appreciate you more if you show you are mindful of their time.
Managing Time, People, and Information
Not only does an agenda list the topics to be covered but it also serves as a time tracker. An agenda is completely customisable. You can set specific time limits for certain topics that you know might need more time for discussion. This also helps you to hold people accountable. If others are presenting at the meeting, they know they have a specific amount of time to cover their topic. An agenda with set times also lets them know how much they need to prepare for the meeting, Depending on the nature of the meeting, you may want to have someone take minutes, which includes a list of everyone in attendance, topics covered, and any decisions made by the group. Minutes serve as a written record of team goals and deadlines.
Evaluating Meeting Effectiveness
One of the ways to evaluate the effectiveness of a meeting is to talk to the people who attended. Consider having your employees fill out an anonymous survey to find out what worked and what can be done differently for the next meeting. Sites such as SurveyMonkey offer free accounts where you can ask up to 10 questions of 100 respondents. Feedback is extremely helpful, but only if you use it. Your team will feel good about being heard but will want to see results. Take the best suggestions and incorporate them into future meetings.
You can also look at the minutes of the meeting to see if topics were covered adequately. If not, then try to think of ways to encourage more dialogue.