Creating a cohesive team dynamic demands face time with the people in your workplace. Daily or weekly meetings with coworkers or employees can cost time and money if they’re used inefficiently. A ten-minute meeting between six employees is the equivalent of an hour of your company’s time–a resource that must be spent consciously.
So, whether you’re a team member or a leader in your company, it’s important to make sure you remain a stakeholder in the efficiency of the meeting. No one wants to have their time wasted discussing line items that are irrelevant to their work agenda. To make sure that your meetings remain productive, even with clients or individuals outside your team, there are good habits you can start getting into today.
- Create a physical document outlining the meeting agenda. This is an all-time best practice for business leaders organizing a meeting. If your superior managers aren’t doing it, show initiative and suggest you create one as a meeting facilitator. Staying on-topic is preeminent in getting results out of your meeting. When everyone involved can visually see what needs to be covered, they can get a sense of how much time is left to self-monitor. Disseminating an agenda prior to the meeting enables participants to prepare for the meeting so time isn’t wasted pulling up emails or other documents.
- Optimize Meeting Attendants. It’s important to keep in mind whose time is being spent at a meeting. If a team member seems unengaged or quiet during the meeting, it may simply mean that they cannot contribute to what’s being discussed. Review who will be participating in the meeting and follow up with individuals to see if they feel they should be involved. Wasting someone’s time is money wasted for the company. Being on top of this policy makes team members feel like their time is valued.
- Create a Timing Procedure. Aside from establishing a start and end time to the meeting, make sure to monitor how much time each person spends contributing to the conversation. It might take some getting used to, but curbing wandering, off topic comments will slowly but surely get the team in a habit of staying focused. While it may feel rude to interject, participants will appreciate the meeting’s brevity. It’s important to stay positive and encourage creative problem solving, while still getting back to the task at hand. Try these phrases to cut down on off-topic conversations:
- “That’s a great idea, I’ll include it in our meeting minutes and table it for another brainstorming session”
- “That could work, lets flesh out that idea at another time so we can focus on getting today’s agenda accomplished”
- “I appreciate your creativity, let’s talk about that privately on a one-on-one meeting later this week”
- Take Notes & Use Them. Meeting minutes may be difficult to collect at first, but they can be helpful in implementing ideas generated during the meeting. If your team doesn’t have the luxury of having an administrative assistant, an intern or participant could volunteer to do so. Once the meeting is over, send out a memo to all participants as well as stakeholders who should be briefed on meeting outcomes. You’ll begin to see that your meetings will produce more deliverables once you know that there are others waiting to receive documentation on what transpired during the course of the meeting.
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