If your weekly team meetings have become more of a chore than an opportunity to exchange ideas and engage in productive discussions, try these tips for rejuvenating them.
- Make sure there’s a legitimate purpose for meeting. Know what you want to accomplish and make sure the right people attend.
- Create a concise written agenda and distribute it to all attendees in advance. Consider setting a time limit for each agenda item. Distribute background materials beforehand, too, so attendees will be able to discuss key topics knowledgeably during the meeting.
- Choose a time and a venue that’s conducive to your group and your goals. Brainstorming sessions, for instance, work best in the morning – not right after lunch or late in the day when people often feel lethargic or tempted to clock-watch compulsively.
- Set start and end times, and stick to them. Dragging meetings out longer than scheduled is disrespectful to people with busy schedules and heavy workloads. Not surprisingly, it can make meetings unproductive and attendees resentful.
- Encourage input from everyone and listen attentively when other people talk. Meetings tend to be more successful when all attendees are invited to participate actively by asking questions and expressing ideas.
- Keep people on track. The meeting leader’s role is to politely but firmly rein in anyone who goes off on a tangent, monopolizes the conversation, or criticizes other team members’ ideas.
- Close the meeting with a quick review of the decisions reached. Assign action items to specific individuals, explain what needs to happen next, and establish a time frame for completing tasks.
- Distribute minutes promptly. Highlight decisions reached and follow-up planned.
- Get feedback. Encourage attendees to share their thoughts on what worked well and what could be done to improve efficiency at future meetings.