How to Conduct Productive Team Meetings

When you see a team meeting pop up on your schedule,  you may roll your eyes. That’s because we have all been to meetings that were boring, inefficient, and a complete waste of time. The last thing you want is for your employees to dread meetings. When planned and run properly, team meetings can be great for decision making, brainstorming, sharing information, or even coaching. So, how do you run a productive meeting that team members find motivating and worthwhile? Here are a few tips for conducting a meeting that leaves your team feeling empowered and energized. 

1. Only Hold Meetings When Necessary

Some managers like to schedule meetings just for the sake of scheduling a meeting. Meetings are not required to answer every question or solve every issue. Meetings should only be scheduled when they are absolutely required to accomplish a task. 

2. Only Invite People Who are Truly Needed

There is no need to invite every person to every meeting. Rather, you should only invite those people whose input is absolutely necessary. For example, if you are discussing the progress of a current project, you only need to invite the people directly involved in the project. 

3. Set the Agenda

A meeting agenda should outline what your team will do throughout the meeting and what objectives you are trying to achieve. It should be distributed to each team member the day before so they can prepare any questions or gather last minute information. The agenda should include the following information:

  • A schedule of items being discusses
  • Location
  • Attendee list
  • Purpose
  • Clearly defined objectives

4. Assign Meeting Roles

It takes a lot to run a productive meeting. Someone needs to facilitate the discussion, take notes, and make sure everyone’s voice is heard. Assigning team meeting roles is a great way to ensure all aspects of the meeting are handled so that the meeting runs smoothly. The four most common meeting roles are:

  • Leader: This person is in charge of choosing a time and location for the meeting, inviting attendees, guiding the group through the agenda and facilitating discussion. 
  • Recorder: This person is responsible for taking notes during the meeting and organizing them at the conclusion of the meeting. They will distribute these notes along with action items to all attendees.
  • Timekeeper: This person is responsible for keeping the meeting on schedule and assigning a specific amount of time to each section. 

5. Encourage Input from Everyone

In order to get the most out of a meeting, you want everyone to have a chance to participate. Rather than 2 or 3 people doing 70% of the talking, the facilitator should encourage a better balance and ask everyone for input. Some people may not feel comfortable speaking up on the own, but are usually happy to do so when encouraged and given the opportunity,

6. Mitigate Distractions

To make meetings faster and more effective, ensure that team members are paying attention and respecting others by not checking their emails, texting, talking, or multitasking during the meeting. Ask employees to turn off their laptops and silence their phones until the meeting is over. 

7. Be Mindful of Time

Meetings should be no longer than one hour at the most and it’s so important that your meetings start and stop on time. It is also important to limit the amount of time you will spend on each agenda so you can be sure you cover all of your topics.