The number one complaint of employees everywhere is that they spend too much time in meetings. There never seems to be enough time in the day to get work done because we are moving about between conference rooms or bouncing from one telephone call to the next.
As a manager, you need to be sensitive to this issue and do everything you can to not add to the problem. One good place to start is with your staff meetings. These meetings, while critical, need to be laser focused and value added in the minds of your team.
5 Tips To Make Your Next Staff Meeting Better
- Use an agenda – This is one of the hard and fast rules for any meeting. Agendas provide the needed structure to keep the meeting on task. Publish your agenda as far ahead of the meeting as is feasible and during the meeting stick to the items on that agenda.
- Utilize a parking lot – One way to handle topics that need to be addressed, but are not on the agenda is to use a parking lot system. The parking lot can be as simple as a sheet of flip-chart paper labeled and placed on the wall at the start of the meeting. If an off-agenda topic comes up, you either list it on the parking lot so that it can be addressed at a future meeting, or (and this gets missed) if it’s important enough, you move something from the agenda to the parking lot and address the new “hot” topic.
- Start and end on time – Nothing makes employees temperatures rise more quickly than not respecting their time. If the meeting starts at 1 and a vice president who asked to sit in isn’t there yet, you start the meeting. Also, you earn a tremendous amount of respect by ending meetings early enough to give people enough time to walk to their next meeting and grab a cup of coffee on their way.
- Involve everyone – Your ability to include the entire team will determine the level commitment you get to your department initiatives. You have to know the personalities of your team as well as their communication style. Some people can react to items and contribute right away. Others need time to process before adding their input. You will have some employees who only need high level overviews and status updates. Others will need facts, figures, and details before they can give you their support.
- Post the ground rules – Like the parking lot, this logistical tool is a great help to all meeting facilitators. Even if the entire team is supposed to know what the meeting rules are, post them anyway. Are laptops allowed? What about cell phones? Who takes the notes and recaps the action items at the conclusion of the meeting? These are all items that can be posted in your ground rules. For a good list of possible ground rules, check out this post from Get The Picture.
If you’ll follow these 5 simple tips, your next meeting will run like clockwork.
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