Meetings are a fundamental part of managing a team. However, they can be over-used and under-productive, which leads to frustration among team members. To lead effective team meetings, managers need to learn to schedule meetings carefully, set expectations beforehand, and maintain control and a positive attitude while the meeting takes place.
Don’t Waste Time
Before you schedule the meeting, ask yourself if it is necessary and if each person you intend to invite needs to attend. Unnecessary meetings drain everyone’s time, and they make employees less enthusiastic about important meetings. If it could be a quick email or phone call, it doesn’t need to be a meeting.
During the meeting, be aware of the time you are spending. Don’t make the meeting longer than it needs to be. Have a specific agenda, then start and end the meeting on time. Consideration of your team members’ time ensures that team members are more willing to participate.
When scheduling the meeting, set expectations for what you will cover and any rules of order your team needs to follow. Take this time to assign tasks and request input so you can update the agenda if needed before the meeting takes place. Go through a similar process when closing a meeting so that team members can begin preparing for the next meeting well in advance.
Create Engagement and Interest
Regular team meetings are often a necessary part of maintaining smooth operations—or they may be an organizational requirement. Unfortunately, these can also feel like a drag or a waste of time to some team members. You can improve regular meetings by offering ways to shake things up and make the meetings more enjoyable. Consider inviting guest speakers, conducting team building activities, or celebrating accomplishments during these meetings. You can also make things more exciting by changing the venue to a breakfast or lunch establishment. If you can’t leave campus, have breakfast or lunch catered.
Stay in Control
As the manager who called the meeting, always endeavor to control it. That doesn’t mean lecturing to your employees; indeed, the most productive meetings involve open discussions and collaboration. However, it does mean awareness of what is going on during discussions. Know who is doing most of the talking, who interrupts, and who stays silent. Do not let team members interrupt each other, and be sure to acknowledge each team member’s ideas. Make time for more silent team members to express their ideas, but don’t single them out.
The final element to leading effective meetings is keeping a positive attitude. Your employees sense if you are not enthusiastic or feel negatively about a meeting, and they will reflect that in their interactions. By maintaining positivity, you can influence team members to view the meeting in a positive light, which encourages them to be more productive and creative during this and future meetings.