How To Have Fewer, Shorter Team Meetings
Team meetings are essential, but they can also be a sinkhole for many hours in your valuable workday that could be spent working on other projects. So how can you economize as a team to make your meetings shorter and more efficient so your colleagues can get back to work sooner? Here are a few methods that your team can implement to make your meetings useful again.
Create a Meeting Agenda
Many departments may think that it’s important for all members of the organization to know what’s going on, but this is a common mistake. During meetings, employees typically only need updates on the specific projects that they’re working on to keep going and be productive for the entire organization. Learning about all aspects of other teams’ projects can end up being an overload of information and a waste of each person’s time.
To manage each employee’s time spent, create a meeting agenda with time slots for each topic. Add a cushion of 5 minutes to the beginning and end of every topic to not feel rushed. This way, employees will know which topics pertain to their area and when they will be brought up. This may mean that some employees may only be present for the first ten minutes, and others may be present throughout the duration of the meeting.
This is a handy method that can turn lengthy meetings that tire everyone out into smaller time sessions spent discussing the most useful information.
Meetings can grow stale at times, especially if your team can expect to have the meeting in the same place, every day. If you’re in an office, make sure to change the meeting location frequently. In fact, it helps the learning process to be in new locations where your team must process new information in their surroundings. The new location heightens the senses, allowing your team to focus and take in new information with increased intent.
If your team is remote, a.k.a meetings are done through video calls, you can easily implement this by alternating your work location regularly, whether that means picking a new coffee shop on a regular basis, or simply switching to a different room in the house.
Document Your Meeting
If new points are addressed during the meeting, don’t rely on each and every team member to take note. Create a group document where notes can be added by each team member in real-time and make sure your meeting document is consistently shared and accessible to everyone.
Post-meeting, it’s a good idea for the meeting notes to be sent individually to each colleague, rather than simply placed in a drive for anyone who wants to review it. Most employees, with all of their projects going on, may forget to reopen the meeting document on their own. By sending it through a group messaging app or through team collaboration platforms like Gain, your team will receive a reminder and be pushed to review what was discussed once more. This will consolidate all the meeting updates in one place if anyone needs to refresh their memory later in the week.
Avoid Topics That Rely Heavily On Gossip and Speculation
It’s common to have certain topics come up in meetings that are completely speculative. Maybe your team is about to score a new client, and you are waiting for the final decision, or there is a new project in the pipeline. These speculative topics can be exciting to discuss but offer little value during a meeting and can waste valuable time. Unless there are new updates to share on the situation, it’s best to leave rumors or speculation about possible future endeavors out of meetings to make the most out of your team’s time.
Put Away The Electronics
iPads, laptops, desktops, smartphones, smartwatches, and more. All of these devices can be distracting and should be turned off during a meeting. A pad and pen can be far more useful to take notes on to avoid receiving updates or messages that can disturb your team meeting.
If taking notes digitally is more convenient, turning off your wifi or using apps like Selfcontrol can help you stay out of distracting sites and block unnecessary updates for the duration of the meeting.
Use The Last 10 Minutes To Assign Tasks
At the end of every meeting, it’s helpful to end it with a recap of the major points discussed during your team meeting. This helps consolidate every point that was discussed and reminds team members of their next tasks.
Meetings can’t be eliminated from the weekly schedule because it’s always good to regroup to maintain the team mentality and collaboration. Keeping that in mind, they can, more often than not, be big time wasters that are rarely useful. Using some of these methods will make your team meetings useful again and leave team members feeling energized rather than exhausted.
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