Meetings can be very powerful or big time killers. Very rarely do they fall in between.
Your focus should be improving workflow and communication through better meetings, training and technology. For example there are different kinds of collaboration software that can open communication and increase productivity without having to have a formal meeting. I use Asana and Trello with my virtual team.
Many meetings don’t need to be held if collaboration happens naturally within the flow of the workday. Meetings definitely have their place when conversations spark unique ideas that otherwise wouldn’t happen.
I know you can’t get rid of meetings, but you can make them more fun, efficient and encourage creative collaboration.
Now let's look at how you can improve your meetings:
1. Create a detailed agenda and goals.
The person who created the meeting should also create an agenda. They should have a vision for how the meeting should go and a plan for communicating what they want to cover.
I’ve worked for companies where the agenda was a standard practice, but they often still missed out on the most crucial part. What are the goals? When you can identify a goal for each agenda item, it will help the whole team understand how they can help each other reach their goals.
2. Set a time limit.
Too often meetings have an open time associated with them. If they start at 10am and they go to lunch there is probably some wasted time in there.
By putting a time limit on the meeting, people will be more focused and will likely complete their discussions within the allotted time. This reduces the fluff and banter that can be done in the meeting.
Quick tip: try scheduling fun meetings, which are more about team building, creativity, and sharing instead of following a strict agenda. You can allow people to have fun in a meeting, just set the rules on what type of meeting you are having before it starts.
3. Gamify your meetings.
As kids we learn by playing games. Tapping into this kidlike feeling at work will help your team create bonds and help everyone feel a little happier.
For example, you can give out stickers to people who give the best ideas in response to a problem. The person with the most stickers wins a free lunch.
If you don’t want to create this type of environment during the meeting, try a game at the end of the meeting. This works well especially if your meetings are optional, because it might entice people to stick around instead of rushing off.
The game could be fun for the sake of fun (ex: what is your favorite animal and why, or what has been your favorite project in the last 6 months that you worked on and why). Everyone who participates gets thrown in a drawing for a $10 Starbucks giftcard or they get to pick where the next meeting will be held. The prizes should depend on what your employees would like to win.
The most important component of the game is to help people bond. The more you can create fun experiences that they can share with each other, the more connected they will feel toward each other.
4. Come up with a possible solution when you present a problem.
As a good leader in meetings you have to know you can’t know or do it all. Your job is to help explain the vision and let your team help you get there. So next time someone has a problem and they just throw it out there, take a pause and ask them what they think is the best option that we should take and why.
You can lead co-workers in the same way. Many times co-workers start their own mini-meeting with you. They come up to you expecting you to solve the problems because you have strong skills in this area. If you just solve their problem they’ll just come back to you again. Try to be a leader and see if they have any possible solutions that they think would work.
When meetings are done well they bring smart people together to find solutions to problems that can’t be solved by just one person. The more you can encourage everyone to pitch in ideas and solutions the more you empower them to do great work, building confidence and employee engagement.
5. Let everyone share one thing they want to celebrate.
Depending on your time limit, you can set a small amount of time for everyone to celebrate something that is going well with their team, project, or life.
We don’t celebrate as often as we should because we are an “on the go” business culture. We usually move on to the next thing instead of taking the time to appreciate what is right before us. By encouraging celebration you are giving people the stage to celebrate each other.
You can even encourage people to celebrate a team member instead of themselves. This encourages your team to share appreciation for each other, building camaraderie and affection for each other.
Meetings can be lousy if not run well. What “meeting improvement” tips can you share with the Work Happy Now community? I like when people add to my ideas and we give people even more options.
What have you seen work well in meetings you enjoyed?