The ongoing debate on how to organize productive meetings is a timeless topic. Meetings are the secret weapon of many work teams, but can also be a struggle for those who don’t quite get it right.
As managers and HR managers, we must be clear that meetings are the basic building block for all teamwork. Therefore, if we want our performance to be optimal, we can improvise and trust our results will be the best… or we can organize ourselves correctly and make it happen.
To achieve the latter, it all starts and continues with the right meeting dynamics.
Every company is different and every task requires a different type of organization, so there are many ways to conduct a productive meeting correctly. However, as mentioned, there are also many ways in which a meeting can become distorted and end up becoming an obstacle to the team’s performance.
Below you can find the seven guidelines that you should follow when scheduling meetings as they enable the organization of productive meetings. You can apply them in your own way, but the more you leave out, the more disorganized your meeting will be.
How can we organize productive meetings?
1. Schedule meetings in the calendar
Meetings should be predictable, i.e. they should be a natural part of the team members’ routine and schedule. The best way to achieve this is to choose a day and time for the meeting and stick to it, even if changes have to be made exceptionally.
This way, everyone will internalize the idea that meetings exist, that they have regularity, and that they should be added to their agenda.
It is usual to schedule meetings for Monday or Friday, depending on whether you want to approach them as a preparation for the week or as a follow-up of what has been achieved. Both options, and any other that suits you, are valid, as long as the meeting is held.
2. Be consistent when arranging meetings
The day and time of the meeting are important, but what matters is to keep that schedule and to make it up whenever a cause interrupts the sequence of meetings.
One of the main reasons for losing the habit of holding meetings is to stop meeting for even a week at a time. It is not a matter of meeting for meeting’s sake. However, it is important that, on a regular and predictable basis, the team has a space to meet, communicate openly and organize the tasks to be performed.
3. Set a time limit
In any office, everyone knows that there are both hectic and relaxed moments. Therefore, sometimes meetings have little content, and sometimes there is not enough time to discuss everything.
In any case, to make meetings less exhausting, it is advisable to stick to a time limit. This helps to get to the point instead of beating around the bush and prevents attendees from feeling that time is being wasted. Of course, the maximum time limit should not be used up if all points have already been covered.
4. Follow an agenda
Improvisation is not the best way to get the most out of a meeting for which a time limit has been set. It is, therefore, best if at least one person is responsible for preparing the agenda, i.e. the list of items to be discussed at the meeting, in advance.
They can do this according to their initiative, but it is often useful to remind team members that, if there are any issues they wish to address, they can communicate them to the person in charge so that they can include them on the agenda.
Although it is not a universal practice, in some teams the planned agenda is sent to the attendees even before the meeting, to anticipate the items to be discussed. This allows them to prepare themselves better rather than doing it on the spot.
5. Structure your meeting well
In addition to having an agenda, any meeting is a formal gathering that should follow a more or less orderly structure to boost its efficiency.
The basic structure of a meeting can be very simple and revolve around three points: introductory greetings, presentation of the agenda, closing and conclusions.
You can vary this structure according to the needs of your team, but try to follow it so that your meetings do not have a jumbled appearance.
6. No discussion: spokesperson and taking turns
Regarding agenda items and structure, it is always important to remember that the purpose of the meeting is to work productively.
For this to happen, communication must flow properly and this cannot happen if the work meeting turns into a chaotic mess.
Although there are indeed work teams where the atmosphere is very horizontal and informal, there should be a person who acts as spokesperson or coordinator. It can be, for example, the same person who is in charge of preparing the agenda.
This person will be in charge of directing the meeting and organizing the turns to speak in an orderly manner, to ensure that no one monopolizes or boycotts the meeting and that all voices have a chance to be heard.
7. Information gathering
Meetings, especially those that are more intense, productive, or heated, are a great source of information and decisions for the team.
To fix all this content and clarify it once the meeting is over, it is important to have a person in charge of taking note of the agreements reached and the different considerations made during the session and record all this in a document in the form of minutes.
In this way, a copy can be sent to all those attending the meeting so that everyone is aware of the issues that have been discussed and so that teamwork can be tracked over time.
Productive meetings are a basic technique of teamwork. However, for various reasons, not all teams know the best way to conduct them efficiently. This might be your case: you are in charge of leading a team but, for some reason, you don’t quite get the hang of the basic guidelines.
Don’t worry. Ifeel has an emotional well-being program for companies designed precisely to help you detect how these shortcomings can affect the emotional well-being of your teams. Thanks to this program, our psychologists will be able to advise you on different aspects that will improve your performance and have a positive impact on the psychological well-being of your employees.
Contact us today. We are here to help you.