“This meeting could have been an email.” A popular quote that’s found its way onto memes, mugs, and notepads. We have all been to that meeting. However, team meetings can serve a great purpose and are a key component of any business – if done right.
It’s well known that many meetings are issues that could have been resolved with an email, a two-person conversation, or even individual conversations with six different people.
That said, if done effectively, team meetings are a fantastic way to unite employees, motivated them, and create a culture of continuous improvement. So, how do you host an effective meeting?
What is the Purpose of a Team Meeting?
First, let’s consider the purpose of a team meeting. In simple terms, the aim is to unite a team of individuals and to collectively gain input from each of these people on one concept or problem.
Commonly what happens during these meetings is you will gain the opinion of those who are most confident speaking in front of their colleagues and not always those who are more likely to sit back and listen.
What this means is that the main purpose of your meeting is never achieved: to get the perspectives of each member of your team.
Let’s explore how you can avoid this happening and get the most out of everyone in attendance.
Prepare the Meeting Agenda
Most importantly, before any meeting takes place is to write an agenda.
The agenda should include the objective is of the meeting, including the main topics and a realistic timeframe for each of these.
Ideally, you want to send this agenda out prior to the meeting to receive input from the team.
An agenda should include the following:
- Meeting date, start, and end time.
- Purpose of the meeting.
- Clear agenda items.
TOP TIP: A surefire way to get everyone’s contribution to a meeting is to designate relevant agenda items to a member of the team. This way it gives people a responsibility and a clear indication of when their input will be required.
How to Make the Team Meeting Effective?
One of the main reasons meetings lacks enthusiasm and effectiveness is the lack of collaboration or involvement from each member of the team.
We had one top tip above on a way to avoid this but here are some other ideas to ensure everyone gets involved and feels valued during a team meeting.
- Assign agenda items to a member of the team to lead (of course this has to be relevant to their job title/ area of expertise.)
- Ensure that what is being discussed is relevant to everyone in attendance. You are more likely to lose people’s interest if what is being discussed doesn’t directly affect them.
- Add some fun to your meeting – more ideas for this are below!
- Make the most of collaboration tools. See further down for suggestions.
- Cut out the reporting, anything that can be shared after the meeting should be. Don’t waste time looking through data or reports as you’ll lose the attendee’s attention fast!
- Assign meeting roles:
Leader – Arrange the meeting, write the agenda, and leads the group through the items.
b. Minute Taker – Keeps note of action items, conclusions, and decisions to collate and share after the meeting.
c. Timekeeper – In charge of ensuring the meeting stays on schedule.
d. Devil’s advocate – the person who is there to add thought-provoking questions and challenge ideas.
Utilising Collaboration Tools for Effective Team Meetings
While the traditional notepad and pen serve their purpose, they might not be the most effective tool for team collaboration. This is because it prevents the very thing you want to achieve – collaboration.
Why You Should Avoid Notepads and Pens During Team Meetings
- It keeps everyone’s thoughts separate.
- Distracts people from whoever is speaking at that time.
- The Notes might not be completely accurate.
- Everyone’s notes could be different.
This is why assigning a minute taker is really important. It means nobody needs to worry about taking notes during the meeting and can instead focus on being present.
Here is a list of collaboration tools to utilise in your team meetings:
Mindmeister is a digital mapping tool, ideal for brainstorming sessions to help the whole team visualise the discussion or plan a project. The main features include sharing the maps, the ability to comment or vote on ideas, build in a presentation feature.
Lucidspark is an online collaboration software that allows users to share ideas in a flexible workspace. It is easy to trade feedback and ideate in real-time.
Slack is a digital HQ where you can connect your whole team, communicate as a group or direct to an individual. This gives your team the ability to share information during a meeting for example when something is being referenced, it may help to have a visual for everyone to access quickly.
How to Make Meetings More Fun
One of the easiest ways to keep everyone interested during a meeting is to inject an element of fun!
Silly Games to Start
Start your meeting with something a bit silly. This could be a few “caption contest” images. Using either topical images from news pieces, industry-relevant photos, or even pictures of the staff themselves.
This is a simple way to get everyone engaged, boost the energy and enthusiasm in the room, and get everyone thinking in a more creative way!
Your team may be very familiar with each other, or they may only meet during these team meetings. Either way, a good icebreaker never goes a miss!
Some light-hearted ideas could include:
- 3 famous dinner guests, dead or alive, who would you choose?
- Your go-to karaoke song
- One place in the world you think everyone should visit
If your team is particularly active, you could get everyone to bring in their gym kits and spend the first part of the meeting doing some yoga or energetic workouts.
Change it up!
One quick way to keep everyone engaged during a meeting is to change it up!
Try something like a lunch and learn where people can sit and have their lunch during a training session, or a breakfast meeting. This could be where everyone has their morning coffee together as a group to start the day.
Another way to change it up is to change the location. Get everyone outside, especially if you have an outdoor space with seating during the summer.
Asking Questions to Encourage Discussion
Have a list of questions at the ready. During each agenda item, you should have some key questions that you want to be answered by your team.
This is important because it stops the meeting from becoming a one-way street where just one person does all the talking.
Questions open up the opportunity for discussion and keep the conversation going.
Get Input from the Team
A great way to host an effective team meeting is to get the direct input of the team. Ask them how they learn best, and what they like/do not like about the current meetings.
Do they have any suggestions for improving the way the company does meetings? By getting everyone involved in how meetings are done at your company, will leave them feeling empowered and automatically get them more engaged if they feel responsible for the success of the meeting.
Once a team meeting has taken place ask everyone for the feedback, this can also be done anonymously to get the most honest answers from your team!
If you’re looking for a change of scenery for your next team meeting or team strategy planning, then look no further than our conference centre, set in the heart of the Cotswolds with everything you could need for the perfect residential meeting space.