by Lior Levin
Every business manager wants to ensure that his team performs. In order to ensure performance, team meetings need to be effective. But what does this actually mean?
In management, the word “effective” simply means to obtain a desired effect or outcome by getting your team to do the right things first hand. Peter Drucker, best known for his books on the theories and practices of management, states that “effectiveness can be taught, but must be earned.”
For those individuals who do not have the time to study books, here are 6 ways to an effective team meeting:
Step 1 – Have an Agenda
The purpose of an agenda is to provide the team with a list of subjects/topics that will be discussed in the meeting within a given amount of time. It is purposefully used as an organizer as the topics are usually prioritized.
This allows them to prepare more fully for the meeting and where they can provide feedback if possible. It also helps the manager to return the focus to the agenda or a specific topic should the discussions at hand somehow become off topic. Regardless of the type of meeting or size of the business, an agenda will always play a vital role.
Step 2 –Time and Frequency of Meetings
The principle behind this is to consider both the time available for the manager and his/her team. Stick to the time given for the meeting. This also means that you may need to redirect the focus to the points on the agenda, should the discussion become off topic as you may not get to discuss other important aspects.
Time is money and therefore should not be wasted. Also ensure that you do not have meetings when staff is under deadline pressures such as month end etc. Create an environment where your team will take meeting times seriously by starting and closing on time. Also do not have meetings just for meetings sake. If your team thrives by attending monthly or weekly meetings, do not enforce daily meetings.
Step 3 – Minutes of a Meeting
Minutes of a meeting includes notes regarding the decisions made within the meeting on a specific topic. If you don’t have a personal assistant, ask someone to take notes and forward the notes to you one day after the meeting.
Check the minutes as soon as possible and forward it to everyone. If you have a reliable person drafting the minutes, you can ask them to directly forward it to the team without you having to screen it first. It serves as a reminder regarding assigned task and responsibilities to everyone in the team
Step 4 – Encourage Participation
The whole point of a meeting is to not only give instruction and advise, but also to hear the views of the team. Successful meetings usually include suggestions by the team and problems that might be avoided. Employees who feel that they are a valuable part of the success of a business will be more motivated if their opinions and concerns are effectively addressed.
Step 5 – Tasks, Responsibilities and Progress
Your team might be motivated by the way the meeting is conducted, but this will all mean nothing if everyone thinks the work is the responsibility of someone else. Ensure that each task is assigned to a specific person, and ensure the name appears as such on the minutes. Every member needs to know what their responsibilities are.
With this said, converse with the responsible individual/s on the expected time frame which could or should be expected for the specific task at hand. Ensure to have this date set next to the name of the individual/s assigned to the task.
Progress on the project can be done before the next meeting is conducted and will help ensure that the project is running on time, or where unforeseen problems can be addressed beforehand.
Successful managers might be more educated in a specific field but will always strive to become better managers. An important feature here is to invite feedback on how employees perceive the way you conduct meetings. Don’t just assume that your way is the best.