I have always been a fan of getting together face to face. It’s amazing what you can pick up on when you sit down, talk and listen.
Even though Virtual Assist is primarily virtual, we spend a lot of time on site at various businesses when helping them establish or streamline their administrative tasks. Whilst on site we generally pick up on the feel of the business and whether the team is happy. If we feel any type of negativity, it is generally in businesses that do not have regular team meetings.
People need a safe place to air their differences or difficulties so they can be proactive about resolving them and moving on. If there is no place to air these issues, negativity can easily seep in. Just one unhappy employee can infect the whole team, resulting in a toxic working environment which decreases productivity.
It is much easier to just main a healthy working environment.
When I first started working as a Beauty Therapist we had team meetings every fortnight. We would go over our targets, discuss goals and how we were tracking, as well as speak about the difficulties we had faced within our roles. It was a great way to communicate with the team and receive experienced advice, as we were usually too busy working privately with clients than to catch up.
The phones were off, the door was closed, it was just us.
I thought this was the norm and it wasn’t until I was working overseas that I realised it wasn’t. I was working for a company that was entirely chaotic, team meetings were non-existent. I did not last long in this role as I loathed how disconnected they were from their workers. Ever since, I have advocated for regular team meetings where ever I have worked.
Why are team meeting so important you ask? They help team leaders to:
- Establish a healthy working environment
- Build supportive relationships in the team
- Learn what is inspiring their staff, and use that to motivate them
- Force members to take a break from their daily grind
- Gather feedback
- Teach and set goals
However, ineffective team meetings can be equally as damaging. If your team does not see their worth or find them boring, it will cause even more resentment than there already is. So here are 10 tips to help you to have a successful team meeting:
- No interruptions! – Close the doors and turn off the phones. Meetings are important and need to be treated that way. You need 100% focus for them to work.
- Start off on the right foot – When I worked at Chevron team meetings began with the facilitator asking everyone attending be engaged and have a genuine interest in being there. Without having your audience on board with a positive head space and are interested, then the meeting can go downhill and fast. Any negativity will seep into what you are trying to achieve, but this brings me to my next point…
- Compare the past with the present, and outline the future – Comparing where you were, discussing where you are, and strategising where you will be with your team is very motivated, and makes everyone feel like they have had a say in the company’s direction. If employees feel they are being taken along for a ride and that they have no say in the direction they can become discouraged and unmotivated very quickly.
- Be engaging and productive – Have actual accounting figures (if applicable) as well as a clear and concise agenda. Figures are very hard to argue with, and agendas can be followed to ensure there is a focus for the meeting. If anyone gets off topic, you can always redirect the conversation to the agenda.
- Be collaborative – Don’t just share information, resolve problems. You will need to have an inviting and safe environment so people can speak up, but problems are not problems if you help fix them. Also, ask for input from your team on the agenda so they feel involved, meaning they will be more likely to get involved.
- Document keys points – You can have as many team meetings as you time, but they simply will not be productive it minutes are not taken. You don’t have to write down every single point, but each discussion point can be summarised to be referred to at a later agreed time/
- Recap – By recapping what was discussed in the last meeting you can then discuss if any goals previously set have been met. This keeps everyone accounted for. Make sure that goals have an expected finish date so everyone understands the time line and all are on the same page.
- Have differing facilitators – This can be tricky as a lot of introverts will not be keen, but it is a good way for people to experience how hard it is to lead a team meeting, and it’s good for building confidence. The regular facilitator still needs to be involved and ready to step in, and most importantly be supportive
- Have figures! – This is most important. Your staff cannot help with production if they do not know the financials. You should send the applicable figures to the team prior to the meeting so they can view and be ready to discuss.
- Choose the correct meeting format – Rather than meeting face to face, there may be various types of meeting formats that work better for your team, particularly if they work virtually or remotely with varying time zones. Stand ups may be more appropriate. If this appeals it is a good idea to discuss with your team about what format they would prefer.
Don’t be complacent about the importance of getting together and nutting out ideas. I can assure you it will help your business and its productivity, so it will be time well spent.
I’ve heard some dramatic stories about team meetings in my time, so I hope you are able to achieve a collaborative and productive team meeting going forward. Good luck!