With technology distractions in the form of mobile devices, laptops, and messaging apps, it can be difficult to keep a team meeting productive.
People get off track, don’t pay attention, and answer emails that aren’t relevant to the meeting topic at hand. However, we also know about how important team meetings are to your work environment. Often, a meeting will take too long to get started and to the point, and that will take away from your team’s productivity. Here are a few tips to keep your meetings productive and successful:
1. Organize yourself and plan ahead:
You would think this step would be simple enough, however, when meetings become reoccurring and routine, it is often overlooked. Create an agenda ahead of the meeting so that you know what you need to discuss and who needs to be prepared. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to plan for how long you want to spend on each topic.
2. Talk to your folks (prepare your team):
Update your team on the agenda items you have created. At IT Weapons, this means updating your Outlook meeting request. It is a very simple and effective way to make sure everyone receives the relevant information. This also allows everyone to have that time blocked off in their calendars. If your team works outside of the office, prepare an online collaboration tool so that everyone can be connected. We recommend using WebEx or GoToMeeting.
3. Stay on task – Don’t navigate away from your plan/schedule:
Stay on task! Once everyone is together and the meeting is underway, it is crucial to stay on track with your agenda. You have already divided up time for each point in your agenda, so be sure to stick to it! If discussions seem to be going longer then expected, put those on hold, and if at the end of the meeting you are left with extra time, you can track back and discuss. If you don’t have time left at the end and you still want more information on some points, loop back around to the key figures in the meeting and go from there. Addressing some items could be as simple as a follow up email.
4. Engage the troops:
What is the point of a TEAM meeting if the TEAM isn’t all participating? The entire point of setting up a meeting with your team is to discuss as a team. Always be sure to lead the pack and ask everyone for their opinions and concerns. You want everyone in the room to have a voice.
5. Always listen and respond/take notes:
You never want to see anyone staring aimlessly out the window while other team members are participating. Body language is extremely important. Hold eye contact, take notes, nod and respond back when others are talking. Always take notes and always ask follow up questions. As the leader of the meeting, you set the tone and your team members will take note and follow.