How to have productive team meetings

Meetings are essential for the success of any company. This is a fact that everyone agrees on. Teams need to know each other’s tasks so that they don’t overlap. This allows them to strengthen their work relationships and work together. Company-wide meetings ensure that everyone is on board regarding the direction the company is headed in.
Meetings allow for face to face communication in an age where most business is conducted online or by telephone. Electronic communication is not able to convey body language or tone. However, emails and phone calls are still important for keeping in touch. Meetings allow participants to connect with each other and not just agree to something because they want to get off the telephone. They can also work together to solve a problem, or to set realistic goals for the future.
But how can you make sure that your team meetings are productive? How can you keep everyone involved (especially Friday afternoon), contributing, and ensure that the meeting doesn’t become a waste?

Engaging your team in a meeting
Meetings should only be attended by the people involved in their work. They should be interested in what is happening and be able to listen to it. However, it can be easy for people to drift away in large gatherings. The best way to keep people engaged is to keep them focused on the topics being discussed and keep the meeting short (a maximum of an hour if possible). Meeting leaders should not lecture, but encourage discussion and debate on appropriate points to ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute.
Encourage your team to contribute, and pull their weight
It can be difficult for everyone to contribute to the meeting to a satisfactory level. Meetings should be kept small to ensure that everyone is heard. However, meeting sizes will vary depending on the size of the company and department. Ai recommend that meetings not exceed twenty participants for small- to medium-sized businesses. To ease them into the discussion, you can start with a round-robin (what they think is going well, what they think could be improved upon, etc.) so that everyone has a chance to speak.
Ensure that team meetings are productive
A clear goal should be established for every meeting. It is important to highlight the topics of discussion before the meeting, and to reiterate them at the beginning of the meeting. This will ensure that everyone is ready for the topic to be brought up and allows for productive discussion. The next steps or actions that were decided upon should be sent to everyone involved at the end of the meeting. It is also important to agree that the next steps will be completed by a specific date (possibly the next meeting date, which can be determined then). This will ensure that everyone is on the same page, and that tasks move forward smoothly. You can also ask employees for feedback on how they find the meetings, which will help you to improve them.
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