Each of us have been in a team meeting that has encouraged and motivated us. We left it with an exact understanding of where we are, where we as a team are going, and how we are expected to get there. Sadly, we have also been in meetings where the purpose was confused, and it seemed to go on forever without finding any conclusion. Those meetings feel painful, and hurt morale. Sometimes, we have led these very meetings ourselves, and it hurts the Conversational Marketing Experts’ (CMEs) trust in our leadership.
How can we make sure that in the future we create opportunities for growth and clear messaging between team members? How do we do so in a way that is entwined with our values? Are we using our values as clear markers on our path? Or are our frustrations allowing our meetings to get out of control?
Here are 8 steps to help make your meetings more effective, positive, and in-line with whom we are as the Incept Family:
(Side Note: These steps are highly helpful for overall productive general meetings, as well as meetings with strategic purposes. For Special Purpose Meetings, as well as Brainstorming/Objective Meetings, other techniques would be extremely helpful too.)
Team Meetings: What Should Teams Expect?
- Have a Clear Purpose. This is not open floor/time to complain. Make sure that the agenda is clear as to the purpose of the meeting. All discussion must be centered on the topic at hand. This is NOT the time to go off the cuff. A team meeting can quickly devolve if your objective is not clear.
- Enforce Strict Timing. Set a start and finish time prior to the beginning of the meeting. If the meeting has multiple items on the itinerary, set time to each of them. If there is no concise decision, set another time to continue/finish the discussion, but never drag the meeting on. Finish on time, always.
- Location, Location, Location. Team meetings should take place in the rows, if at all possible. If not, they should take place in private settings away from other CMEs, so as to not distract the team or those outside the meetings. Make sure that the TV is off, and that no other events are happening nearby.
- Don’t Wait for the Meeting. Make sure that anything that can be accomplished or decided outside of the meeting is done so prior to the meeting. This lets the CMEs realize the value of the meeting without having to go through a ton of nonessential material. If there is an issue that tends to affect less than the whole team, tackle it with those members privately, not as a whole, especially if it is negative.
- Embrace the Good, Sandwich the Bad. Topics should be either “Positive, or Moving Forward” or they should be approached in a “Sandwich Method”, with the most time spent on the “Top Bun” of the discussion. If something negative needs to be discussed, make it something for the team to tackle.
- Let Team Leadership Run Some Meetings. This is a perfect opportunity to allow possible leadership within the team take a significant responsibility, and it allows for growth opportunities within the ranks. This will also allow you to gauge how their peers would react to their future leadership within the company.
- Pay Attention to Your Meeting Structure. Make sure that the meeting topics are structured in a “What Was, What Is, Where Will We Be Going…” structure. It is important to give each member a clear vision of why we as a team are headed in the direction we are going. While some members do not need that much information, it regularly benefits you to give them enough understanding to see both the path behind them and the path in front of them while leaving the opportunity open for those CMEs with questions to come forward later and ask them.
- End With Calls to Action. Each session should end with action items. Make sure everyone is clear of next steps. The meeting should be closed with a summary of actions moving forward. The following should be answered:
- Who will do what by when?
- How and through what means will it be communicated?
How do you make sure your meetings stay on the right path?
Photo Credit: http://hyattlassaline.com/efficient-team-meetings/