Whether you’re working from home or from the office conference room, staff meetings can be a slog. Meetings that run long, don’t follow a clear agenda, or fail to engage employees can be a big drain on staff morale. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Follow these five steps to making meetings more encouraging and engaging for your team.
Personal connection is vital for any team to function at its best. One of the most important steps to start a business is building a strong team that works well together and trusts one another. Build some time for non-business-related conversation into your regular meeting routine. That could take the form of an icebreaker activity at the top of the agenda. You could ask the whole team to answer a fun question like, “Which superpower would you choose - flight or invisibility?” Or, you could keep it more casual and ask what everyone’s weekend plans are, or if they’re watching anything good on TV lately. No matter what tactic you use, finding the time to share a bit of your personality and showing genuine interest in your staff members’ hobbies, personal stories, and preferences will go a long way toward building a trusting, comfortable working relationship.
Stay on Schedule
If the meeting is scheduled for 30 minutes, make sure it ends after 30 minutes. Set an agenda in advance of the meeting. For one-on-one or a small-team meeting, you could create a shared document that team members add their discussion points or important updates to. For larger groups, take suggestions from your staff for items they’d like to discuss, then set a concise agenda that covers all those topics in the allotted time. Your team will appreciate the predictability of a well-run meeting. If your team is working remotely and holding meetings through Zoom or another virtual platform, be sure to leave room between appointments on your team’s calendar. According to Entrepreneur.com, Zoom meeting fatigue builds faster than you might think, and even short breaks can help employees clear their heads and start fresh for the next call.
Up the Engagement
No one enjoys sitting through an hour-long meeting where only one person talks. That’s true in a face-to-face setting, and even more true during a Zoom meeting. To keep your staff engaged, consider including team member reports in your meeting agenda. Each employee could share their most important update of the week or ask a question to the group. If your meeting has more than a few people, consider rotating presentations each week, so staff members have a chance to share their work with the group, and gather feedback. Engaging meetings need to be two-way communication.
Keep it Current
Staff meetings should cover important, recent updates about your company or department. Employees appreciate being well-informed, and transparency is a big piece of creating trust and keeping your team motivated. As part of every meeting agenda, include time for recent updates about the company and relevant takeaways from other meetings. If your department has a leadership meeting, share updates from that gathering with your staff group. Even in cases where those updates might not be good news, staff members appreciate being kept in the loop.
Make it Worth the Time
As the saying goes, “Could this meeting have been an email?” When you’re getting ready to send out a meeting invite, carefully consider what you need to discuss in person at the scheduled time, and what could be completed outside the meeting. Could staff members send you reports that don’t apply to the whole group? Could they add relevant updates to a running document everyone has access to? By keeping meetings focused on the most important business that’s relevant to everyone, you’ll keep people engaged.