We’ve all experienced being in one of those verbose, endless, meetings where your colleagues would give monotonous updates of their latest projects. And most of the time the person who is currently leading the meeting lets it be.
So as a new leader, how can we make team meetings more lively and engaging? How can we have meetings that our team will actually anticipate attending?
First let’s define a successful meeting. A successful meeting is one where your team actually wants to attend. Why? Because they know their points are going to be heard; because they know something will be achieved once the meeting is done.
Here are some steps that will help you lead an effective and engaging meeting.
Set the time frame
When setting meeting invites, whether through email or by verbal announcement, make sure to set the time frame. State the start time, and the finish time of the meeting. “Our meeting starts at 1:30 pm and will end at 3:00 pm.” Then, as much as possible adhere to it.
List down the agenda
Give the attendees a short rundown of the things you’re going to talk about. Write them on the whiteboard. This will give your colleagues a guide on what you are going to talk about. This will also prevent you and your team from straying away from the topics. Once you are done with one topic, erase or cross it out from the list.
Give people permission to leave
Unless it is a very urgent meeting and need everyone to be there until the end, give people permission to leave once the important parts of the meeting have been discussed. Remember, some of the people in the meeting might have more important matters to attend to in the company.
Use summarizing statements and questions
Sometimes, team members can go around the bush while explaining, while you want to give them all the time in the world to explain, others may lose their chance to give their outputs. So how do you deal with this? Find an opportunity to politely interrupt them and sum up the main points of their arguments, and encourage others to move on with the discussion.
Give everyone a chance to talk
Even the shyest person in the room can give great ideas. Give them a chance to state their opinion on the matter. Ask them what they think and if they have suggestions, then make sure their points are taken.
Check the length of your agenda
Make sure your agenda is appropriate in length. This way, you will be able to cover all of the topics needed to be discussed. Therefore, no time is wasted.
Minutes of the Meeting
Assign someone to take minutes of the meeting. This way, you’ll be able to have a summary of what you discussed with your team. You can use it as a guide when you send your team post-meeting emails on the details you have decided on as a team.