Having an effective team meeting should not be a rocket science. Yet, every now and then you probably attend another unproductive team meeting. Although we can't bring your time back, we can make sure you'll never waste it again.
How you might ask?
Productive meetings are a mix of good preparation, will-power and efficient tools. Will-power is something you need to work out yourself, but we can help out with the other two components. As a result of research and brainstorming sessions we are proud to present the Team Meeting Checklist. It's a fun interactive tool for anyone who wishes to make meetings productive again. It demands only 4 little steps from your part:
Step 1. Go to teammeetingchecklist.com. Already easy, right.
Step 2. Write down the details about the upcoming meeting you wish to improve. Fill in the blanks with meeting date and time, location and objective. Add participants' information and move on to the next step.
Step 3. Go through the effective meeting checklist, reminding yourself what makes a productive meeting. Check off all the items you know you can commit to.
Step 4. Send the information to meeting participants. Submit your invitation and the e-mail is automatically sent to every meeting participant. They will be notified about the meeting details and your commitment to effective team meeting. The social pressure will make sure you’ll stick to your promises.
Overall, you'll improve the productivity and time spent on the meeting. Use the tool every time before the meeting to remind participants about:
- when and where the meeting takes place;
- the overall objective;
- the guidelines you and everyone else should follow;
- commitment to waste no more time on unproductive meetings.
After each meeting, come back to the meeting invitation e-mail and reflect. In order to continuously improve, reflect on your progress. Analyze whether you were truly able to stick to the guidelines you checked off. Better yet, ask feedback from your team members. Ask their opinion whether you followed the promised checklist and what could be improved next time. This will show your true commitment to honor yours and everyone else' time.
Before the team meeting:
- Define a clear objective
- Determine necessary participants
- Set meeting time
- Set meeting location
- Prepare meeting agenda
- Distribute the agenda to meeting participants
- Distribute all other background material
- Make sure the meeting room is prepped and ready
During the team meeting:
- Make sure the meeting starts on time
- Establish meeting ground rules
- Review the meeting agenda
- Clarify the meeting purpose
- Put the meeting agenda on a screen
- Make sure the agenda is followed
- Discuss one topic at a time
- Make sure one person has the floor at a time
- Keep discussions relevant
- Wrap-up each agenda item out loud
- Follow the time schedule
- Give every team member the chance to express opinion
- Use open-ended questions
Outcome of the team meeting:
- Make progress toward the objective
- Summarize important discussions and decisions
- Document responsibilities, assigned tasks and deadlines
- Announce date, time and place for the next meeting
- End team meeting on time
- Make sure everyone leaves the room knowing the next step
After the team meeting
- Send a follow-up memo within 24 hours
- Make sure delegation decisions are followed-up
- Put any unfinished business up on the agenda for the next team meeting
There you have it. 30 most important guidelines to hold better, more effective team meetings. You might not be able to do teamwork without meetings, but surely you can make these meetings more productive. To keep these tips always near, make sure to download or print out the checklist.
Now let me ask, how many of these guidelines are you following on a regular base?