Team meetings are a great way to get everyone on board, reach consensus, gather opinions, build the team, work on a problem and share information. However, as there are a number of people present, this makes them challenging as group dynamics and roles that individuals in the group take on may hinder communication and progress.
Ask yourself the following questions:
• Is a meeting the right vehicle for what I want to do?
• Have I got the right people in the room?
• What is my role in the meeting today?
• What is the outcome we want?
• How can I gain real commitment to action?
Jenny Garrett, sought after Leadership Coach and Founder of Reflection Associates, shares her top tips on making your meetings productive.
1. Make sure the right people are in the meeting – who can make a decision and move things forward
2. Purpose – have you ever been to a meeting and wondered why you were there? Help everyone to understand why they were invited and what is expected of them. Then stick to the purpose.
3. Facilitate – rather than dominate, see yourself as someone who is there to create connections, identify themes, build bridges, manage dominant characters and encourage the quieter ones
4. Delegate Tasks – be radically inclusive, everyone has a contribution. Rotate the lead/chair –this option gives everyone an opportunity to lead the meeting, this stops the approach to meetings becoming stale
5. Physiological Factors – make people comfortable – ensure that people are fed and watered, room temperature is right and the venue is conducive to this type of meeting
6. Time Boundaries – agree and stick to time boundaries, this helps keep the meeting on track. Expect people to arrive and leave on time, this culture is both respectful and efficient
7. Preparation is Vital – give out relevant information, and find ways to stimulate pre-meeting thinking so that the conversations are rich and purposeful and not vague
8. Encourage Participation – use flip charts, post it notes, individual thinking and small group discussion to encourage everyone to take part. You can even ask for anonymous suggestions.
9. Monitor Energy Levels – have regular breaks, changes in activity, and move people around
10. Beware of Groupthink – real conversations are challenging and engaging, not back patting and cosy.