You notice one person yawning while another checks their phone. Two other people walk in chatting with no signs of stopping even though you’ve told them that you’re starting at 8 a.m. sharp. Amid technology and a general lack of focus, your morning meeting isn’t starting off as you had planned. It might be time to reevaluate how you run your team meetings.
There’s no wonder why meetings get such a bad rap. If your experience attending meetings revolves around an unclear agenda, disorganized discussions, and conversations that would’ve been more effective over email—you’re not alone.
But keeping your team entertained during meetings doesn’t have to mean wearing bunny ears and playing pump up music (though that might be fun). What’s important is keeping others engaged as you teach new information or share important updates. We’ve gathered five fantastic ways to lead powerful and productive meetings.
Check your attitude at the door.
How are you feeling about the meeting? If you enter the doors dragging your feet and wishing you were somewhere else, other people will pick up on your negative vibe and follow suit. Instead, change your perspective. Feel grateful for the opportunity to gather with your teammates to share new ideas and offer insights into projects as you work toward a common goal of achieving greater productivity and success. Before you sit down, take a deep breath, a long pause, and a moment to get yourself excited about coming around the table (or video call) with other people whose ideas you respect, opinions you appreciate, and presence you enjoy.
Set a clear agenda for your team meetings.
Spend time preparing for each meeting and creating a clear agenda. Without a set plan, team members will be confused as to why they stopped their work. Even if there is flexibility in what gets covered, having at least a rough agenda of what to expect will keep everyone on the same page and ensure that nothing gets missed. Consider using agenda-creation software to get organized in advance.
Make it collaborative.
Invite others into the conversation. If you pose a question to the group, allow time for them to brainstorm and think about it before responding. Recognize that some members will want to write their ideas down. Consider incorporating a digital or physical whiteboard for a true brainstorming session. Reminder: There are NO bad ideas when brainstorming.
Recognize achievements and celebrate successes.
Nothing starts a meeting on a positive note like spending time recognizing the amazing achievements of others. Encourage team members to share a “win” from the previous week with the group. Additionally, allow time for “shout outs” among team members to edify and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Your team works hard, and they deserve kudos!
Open and end your team meetings with impact.
As your meeting begins (on time) welcome everyone and thank them for attending. Establish a clear meeting leader as well as other roles, if needed, such as a notetaker or timekeeper. Toward the end of the meeting, leave time to discuss any issues team members are encountering. Then, wrap up with words of encouragement and a clear closing so that everyone knows what’s expected of them going forward. If you’ve divided up action items during the meeting, follow up with individuals to ensure they know what’s expected of them.
Finally, be respectful of the people who are in your meeting. Start and end the meeting on time. Don’t talk over people, and prevent other team members from doing that, too. Finally, ask for feedback. What would your team members like to see done differently? What potential opportunities are you missing? Then sit back and take notes as your team blows you away with incredible ideas!
When conducting team meetings, remember that you don’t know it all. Learn to leave your ego at the door so that you’re open and ready to receive new information.