Meetings can be effective, interesting, high-energy events where team members work together to make decisions or solve problems. Unfortunately, too many of the meetings we attend seem to be just the opposite. The worst meetings bring time to a crawl leaving everyone mentally and emotionally exhausted and more than a little bit frustrated. The difference is in how the meetings are planned and run.
2. Ask for Input on the Agenda
The act of planning the agenda helps you focus and identify the priority topics for the meeting. Although it’s the manager’s primary responsibility to develop the agenda, team members can be invited to contribute agenda items. Send out a call for ideas a few days before the meeting.
3. Cater To Different Learning Styles For A Winning Meeting
A successful team is made up of individuals with different strengths, talents and learning styles. When you lead a team meeting, taking those different learning styles into consideration can create an inclusive and participative environment. So don’t just talk and hit auditory styles, but instead also supply visuals, opportunities to interact and contribute, and ways for participants to stretch.
4. Never Forget To Follow up
Keep track of action items and make sure people do what they say they are going to do. It’s frustrating to show up to the next meeting and find out half the team didn’t bother doing what they committed to in the last meeting. Follow up before the meeting and hold individuals accountable for their commitments.
5. Avoid Outside Speakers
Ok, sometimes you want them—for example, you definitely would want one of your key business partners to come and explain their strategy—but often outside speakers are simply used to fill time. There are always MANY people who want to speak at your staff meeting and most of these presentations are BORING. Try this test: If you had a policy of not having outside speakers at your staff meeting, would you schedule a separate meeting on the subject the speaker wants to present?
6. Tie Everything Back To your Strategy Goals
For continuity, it’s helpful to tie all discussions back to your broader strategic goals. Those goals in many ways are the common thread across all cohorts within your company.
There are many ways to do this, but a dead simple one is to simply start your regular team meetings by posting or quickly running through those goals. This encourages your team to deep dive on short term issues while keeping your eye on the bigger picture.