Start conducting better team meetings

Team meetings help us collaborate and drive innovation, but only as long as they are run effectively. We have all been in meetings that seem to go on and on while team members start to check out. It’s estimated that up to 31 hours a month get wasted in unproductive meetings. But, with some dedicated effort, unproductive meetings can be substantially reduced. Here are a few simple ways to hold better team meetings.

Go in with a plan

Borderline obvious, your team meetings should have a plan, outline, or schedule that defines the meeting’s purpose. Even a basic plan will do. Ideally, you want to get through the plan and save meeting derailers for after the meeting. This is when you can meet with individuals one-on-one to further discuss unexpected details.

Foster interactions and involvement

Getting the most out of team meetings means getting everyone involved. Start by asking questions and get feedback about what’s being discussed. Show genuine appreciation and acknowledge team wins. When everyone is involved in a meeting, people are generally more engaged and positive.

Consider fun and food

Sometimes meetings will just need to be long. If that’s the case, consider building in breaks where team members can grab food and walk around. This gives everyone a chance to recharge the batteries and spend some time socializing off-topic. Some companies use additional time before or after the meeting for a fun ritual to keep things positive.

Keep it timely

Meetings that start and end at a clearly defined time allow team members to allocate their day better. Team meetings should generally be less than an hour. Being well prepared will help cut down excess time wasted due to unexpected mishaps.

Create actionable items

The end of team meetings are a great time to go over any next steps or action items. This is a quick way to recap responsibilities and uncover anything that might have been missed. It also creates accountability for what was discussed.