Monday 18 July 2016 12:02 pm

Four reasons you're running team meetings all wrong


According to the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, there are an infinite number of universes where everything that could happen has happened.

Which would mean that somewhere in this multiverse the England football team are the current World and European champions, Jeremy Corbyn is Prime Minister, and Danny Dyer has won an Oscar. There may even be a universe where the phrase team meeting doesn’t cause someone to roll their eyes.

For many, team meetings feel like a waste of time. And if you're not doing them properly, they are.

Read more: How to speak up at meetings

What are you doing wrong?

A team meeting should never just be a catch up. A brief chat waiting for lunchtime soup to cook in the microwave isn't going to cut it. To ensure a team meeting is effective, four important elements need to be implemented:

1. You aren’t defining the purpose

As the business leader, you must be clear about the purpose of the meeting: for example, are you discussing operations or strategising?

Work out in advance what it is you want to get out of each meeting. Is the end result to have a campaign structure planned, or do you need to clarify priorities for the coming week/month/quarter/year, or are you looking for a broad strategy?

Purpose is key. Without a defined end goal, your meeting is likely to lose shape and clarity.

2. You’re not creating an agenda

Knowing the purpose of your meeting allows you to shape your agenda.

Where possible, consider circulating the agenda well in advance. This gives the team members attending the meeting the chance to be prepared.

Additionally, if someone has any issues they wish to raise, they can flag this up before the meeting, which gives you the opportunity to deal with the issue outside of the meeting, or, if appropriate, add it to your agenda. As the leader of the meeting, you want to know the course you want to steer, and you need to ensure you stick to it.

3. You don’t set a time limit

A relaxed atmosphere is great, but everyone’s focus should be on the agenda. This isn’t the time or place for gossiping or chinwagging.

4. You haven’t limited the number of attendees

Don’t be tempted to invite everyone just to be seen as being inclusive. You want the right people in the room. If you're having a sales meeting, the people responsible for packing your product don’t need to be there. No one is going to thank you for asking them to sit through a meeting they have nothing to contribute to, especially if they have to stay late to finish work they could have been getting on with.

Every meeting is different and will have unique requirements, so be flexible with your structure. But having a structure in the first place will help you do what you can to ensure your business exists in the universe where no one rolls their eyes when you ask for a team meeting.

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