How leaders can shape positive, productive meetings
Meetings in the office can be useful and necessary but unfortunately, over time, they have garnered a reputation for being tedious and meaningless. Now, with the pandemic shifting the way that teams work – whether it be in the office, from home, or a hybrid model – it’s more important than ever for leaders to be thinking about how they can maximise their meeting time and make it productive for everyone, no matter where they’re working from. The good news is that there are lots of ways leaders can start to do this!
- Help everyone prepare for the meeting
Setting an agenda for your upcoming meeting is a surefire way to make sure everyone is as prepared as possible and that the meeting doesn’t go off tangent. But an agenda also has some other important benefits.
When appropriate, leaders should consider asking for input into a meeting’s agenda. Team members can become more invested when they have a real interest and understanding in what’s being discussed. By allowing them to put their own items on the agenda, they know what’s coming up and exactly how they can prepare for and contribute to the meeting.
Agendas sent out in advance are also a fantastic way to get those quieter members of your team involved. Those who are deeper thinkers or who just like to get their thoughts in order before speaking often don’t get the time to process and speak up in meetings. When you add inthe difficulty of remote meetings or hybrid working, that becomes even more difficult. Sending the agenda out early along with any relevant pre reading before the meeting means these team members have time to consider what will be discussed, come up with ideas and prepare themselves to share them, rather than feeling like they are being put on the spot.
Remember to send out the agenda with plenty of time and consider putting it in the description of the calendar event alongside the meeting link (if needed) so that everyone – whether they’re in the office or not – is on the same page.
2. Set the tone
Meetings aren’t always happy and upbeat but there’s no reason that leaders can’t try to shift the tone to one of positivity
Not every team member is going to be engaged 100% of the time, but asking questions to get everyone involved and shift the tone to one of positivity and engagement is something that leaders can do at the beginning of every meeting.
By asking a question as simple as “What was the best thing that happened this week?” or something similar, leaders encourage their team to speak up, share their achievements, celebrate together and participate in the discussion early on. This is particularly important for those quieter team members. Getting them involved early on means they’re more likely to speak further into the meeting.
This is also a great opportunity for leaders to praise and recognise team members in a way that is natural and deserved – perhaps even hearing about little wins that might not have been recognised otherwise. Meetings can be a great opportunity for recognition but it needs to be authentic.
There’s nothing more deflating than leaving a meeting, feeling like nothing was achieved or that certain voices weren’t heard. Creating a summary of all the points discussed and any action points that were agreed upon is a great way to make sure the productivity of the meeting is recognised, even if it was just a small step forward. Otherwise, meetings can just feel like one big ‘talk-fest’. Summarising helps the team to stay on the same page and feel as though their time was well-spent.
Sending this communication out to everyone shortly after the meeting is essential and ensuring that everyone – whether working from home or in the office – has easy access to it is just another way to keep the team cohesive when they might not all be in the same place.
Are you ready to make the most out of your meetings? People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.