Many managers and employees view team meetings as a waste of time ⏱️. We get it, we’ve been in these types of meetings—they’re not effective team meetings. So, what is a truly effective team meeting? Get ready to find out.
What is the Purpose of Team Meetings?
Let’s take a step back. As much as meetings can be a waste of time, good ones are actually extremely critical to any team or company. Personally, I used to despise (and still do to an extent) having meetings but GREAT team meetings are an essential component of building a happy, highly functional team that is able to achieve its goals—and have fun while doing so.
If you run effective team meetings, you will provide an open opportunity for all team members to come together, reflect on their progress, identity and solve problems, and help each other reach individual solutions. This empowers each individual member of the team, as well as the team as a whole, to be more successful 🙌.
How Do You Run an Effective Team Meeting?
The average worker spends 3.8 hours each week in unproductive meetings. Making your employees sit in team meetings that are irrelevant to them, unorganized, or too long can cause frustration—resulting in a room full of meeting participants that are bored, unengaged, and frankly, ticked off. No one is ever happy in a bad meeting. So, how can this be avoided ❌?
Here are some simple tips for running an effective team meeting:
- ALWAYS prepare a team meeting agenda📝. Creating a staff meeting agenda helps to identify the priority topics for the meeting so you can keep the focus on what’s truly important. Plus, having a team meeting agenda that can be distributed to every participant doesn’t just keep you organized and on track as the manager, but makes it possible for everyone else in the meeting to prepare accordingly and stay on the same page as well.
- Minimize distractions📵. A ringing cell phone or the constant ping of an email inbox is distracting during team meetings. Plus, if an employee is clearly scrolling through their social feed or checking other messages during a meeting, it can make their coworkers feel like they don’t care about what they have to say. For these reasons, it’s best to minimize the number of devices in a team meeting. Avoid bringing cell phones, computers, and tablets into a meeting unless they’re actually necessary.
- Set the example 👀. If you expect your team members to have a positive attitude and stay off their personal devices during a team meeting, you need to follow the same rules as a leader. Your employees are looking to you to set the example, so be sure to always act in the same manner you’re expecting them to.
- Leave room for collaboration 💭. While it’s certainly important to have an organized team meeting agenda, you don’t want to cram so many items on the agenda that there’s no time for collaboration and brainstorming. So, be sure to always leave some time at the end of a team meeting to revisit an unplanned topic that came up, get creative, brainstorm ideas for an upcoming project, or simply chat as a team to build rapport.
- Take meeting notes 🗒️. Having a great discussion or coming up with the world’s best idea during a team meeting won’t mean anything if no one can remember it later. It’s essential that meeting notes are taken so that all participants can refer back to them later. Plus, if someone is out sick or unable to make the meeting, you can pass the meeting notes along to them so they can get themselves back up to speed.
- Assign action items ✍️. Just chatting about improvements that need to be made isn’t enough—action must be taken if you really want to truly see change. So, before leaving a meeting, assign action items and make sure each team member knows what they are responsible for and when it’s due.
- Actually follow up on those action items 🔼. Hold individuals accountable for their commitments and check in on their progress before the next meeting. This minimizes the risk of showing up at the next team meeting and finding out that nobody bothered doing what they committed to last time.
- Ask for team feedback 🗣️. Keep striving to improve your team meetings by asking for team feedback. Ask your employees what they like about your team meetings, what they think isn’t working quite as well, and if they have any ideas for improvements.
- Never Run Late 🏃. If you set the tone that the meeting will run on time and end on time, everyone will appreciate it. You may not get to everything on the agenda but everyone will realize you respect their time and your own time.
- Limit Tangents 💬. There is always someone on your team who lives to bring up random topics during a meeting. This is typically due to a lack of preparedness on their part but could be a personality trait as well. The key is to refer back to the prepared agenda and stick to that. Leave tangents for the next meeting.
How to Structure Your Team Meeting Agenda
When it comes to structuring your team meeting agendas, every manager does things a little differently. There are tons of free team meeting agenda templates out there that you can use as a starting point—we have our own at Strety, too—then customize to meet your team’s specific needs and goals.
The time spent on each topic will depend on the length of the meeting, how much you need to cover, and what the goals and focus of the specific meeting is.
Here is a simple team meeting agenda structure you can follow:
- Team meeting check in ✔️. Get everyone loosened up for the meeting and catch-up for a few minutes as a team to build rapport. This could be about how they’re feeling at the moment, what they’ve been up to in their personal lives recently, etc. Keep this part really short—it’s only to segue into the rest of the meeting. At Strety, we like to start our team meetings with a ranking of how everyone is feeling coming into the meeting and a short description of why.
- Recent wins 🎉. Start out the team meeting on a positive note by recognizing the progress the team has made so far and highlighting any team or individual wins.
- Challenges and constraints 👎. Identify if any team members are facing any obstacles or roadblocks. For example: Is there a resource they need to complete a task they don’t have access to? Do they need to get with an employee from another department? Is a timeline unrealistic?
- Upcoming priorities ⏭️. Dive into the biggest priorities and areas of focus moving forward.
- Next steps 🚶♂️. Assign action items coming out of the meeting, and confirm that each team member knows what they’re responsible for, when it’s due, and has the necessary resources to actually complete them.
- Rank & close out the meeting 🔟. Have everyone rank the meeting and give reasons why they ranked it. This shows your team members that they actually have a voice in these meetings.
5 Team Meeting Agenda Ideas
Here are five team meeting agenda ideas to spice up your next team meeting 🌶️!
- Ask for input on your team meeting agendas. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to develop the team meeting agenda, but that doesn’t mean others can’t be involved at all. Invite your team members to contribute agenda items—this makes them feel like you truly care about what they have to say, and may bring a problem to your attention you weren’t even aware of.
- Stick to your team meeting agendas. Spending time creating a team meeting agenda is pointless if you don’t actually stick to it. With free time tracking apps like Toggl, you can set a time limit for each topic on the agenda. When the timer goes off, you know it’s time to move onto the next topic. This helps you stay on track so you can cover everything you need to and avoid spending 45 minutes going off on a tangent.
- Utilize some team meeting ice breakers. Team meeting icebreakers can loosen everybody up and get them into “meeting mode.” You can use pretty much any short topic that will get people talking, smiling, and ready to collaborate!
- Switch things up sometimes. Put a little variety in the format of your team meetings to keep your employees engaged. We like and recommend switching locations, and even doing a walking meeting when agendas are light. Anything to shake up the routine is good for everyone!
- Carve out some time to celebrate team wins. Team meetings shouldn’t just be to discuss problems with a project or issues with performance. Take a few minutes during each team meeting to call out team wins and celebrate them together. This will show your employees you appreciate them and boost team morale!
How Do You Improve Team Meetings?
Running a good team meeting can feel like an overwhelming task, especially if the organization is known for running bad and unproductive meetings.
Utilizing a team meeting software (sure, like ours!) can make running a team meeting easier on you as a manager, plus make your meetings more efficient and enjoyable for your employees 😍! By having all the information you need in one place, you can have peace of mind that you aren’t forgetting anything or overlooking an important detail.
Elevate Your Team Meetings with Strety!
Strety is a performance management and people management product that brings together all the features you need to become a better manager and lead better team meetings 👏!
With Strety, you’ll be able to:
- Automate the process of scheduling and following up on meetings
- Run better 1:1 meetings
- Run more effective team meetings
- Store info about what you need to cover in a team meeting agenda
- Collaborate on team meeting agendas so your employees can add what they'd like to discuss, too
- Take meeting notes
- Add comments during the meeting so you don’t forget what you’ve discussed
- Assign post-meeting action items for team members
- And more!
Are you ready to level 🆙 your team meetings with Strety? Contact us today to learn more!