Staff meetings are a pivotal part of running a business. Every team member needs to be on the same page, working towards the same goals, and a staff meeting plays a big part in ensuring that happens.
The addition of asynchronicity has only further emphasized the role of maximizing a meeting time when the entire team gets together. However, anyone who has worked at a company knows that it isn’t just having meetings that are important. It ensures they are efficient and well-ran.
We’ve all navigated companies where meetings end up being time-consuming and end up losing focus. This can be wildly frustrating because it detracts from other work people do and wastes employees’ time.
According to Quixy, unproductive meetings squander 24-billion hours annually worldwide. Unnecessarily occupying employee time can be a setback, but a good meeting is a huge asset.
Productive meetings ensure a company is aligned, the whole team is working together to handle major issues, and working toward organizational goals. Meetings also help ensure everyone’s voice is heard and each worker feels they have a seat at the table.
Running an effective staff meeting is no straightforward task. It takes time, effort, and knowledge of the process. For those looking to implement successful staff meetings that move their enterprise in a positive direction, let’s look at what’s needed every step of the way.
Preparation for Staff Meetings
One of the crucial elements of a positive staff meeting is preparation. If all staff members enter a meeting without any preparation, it will be disorganized and difficult to stay focused.
However, if there is a clear agenda and significant advance preparation, it will be much more productive and time-effective. Whether the meetings are for small groups or an all-hands meeting, advance preparation is critical.
The question, then, is what needs to be done to prepare for a staff meeting. While this depends on the company, meeting size, agenda, and goals of the meeting, there are a few core steps that will need to be taken regardless.
First, it is pivotal to figure out the format for the meeting. According to The Hill, almost 30% of workers still work from home. Deciding whether it is in-person, mixed, or on a video call is a key step.
Then, sending out calendar invites and ensuring everyone is aware of the meeting is a crucial step. Send out a meeting agenda to highlight clear action points and discussion topics. If necessary, assign roles, like who will keep meeting notes.
Setting the Right Environment
Another key factor for a constructive team meeting is the environment. This might not cross your mind immediately as a key consideration, but where we work impacts how we work. If your next meeting is in-person, constructing the right environment can be significant.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the brain prefers ordered environments, and a lack of clutter improves focus and the ability to process information.
Carrying that over to building a good meeting setting, employees should try to clean the meeting space to ensure attendees feel more at ease and able to focus. If the meeting includes remote team members, putting them up on a large board so they feel a part of the process is significant.
Ensuring everyone is comfortable will improve focus. The goal is to create a calm, open environment where everyone will be at ease and want to participate.
Leading the Meeting Agenda
Leading a staff meeting requires a calm, poised presence and an engaging manner. If you have been tasked with leading a staff meeting agenda, you are responsible for ensuring that everything runs smoothly, there are no side conversations, and that key messages are delivered.
Maximizing your allotted time doesn’t necessarily mean speeding through the process. There are several productive ways to lead staff meetings.
One strategy many use when leading a meeting is starting with a fun activity. Get peoples’ attention, break down walls, and open up communication. Effective staff meetings don’t necessarily need to be rushed; they just have to achieve their targeted goals.
Employee engagement is a big part of positive staff meetings. If employees aren’t involved or paying attention, key messages won’t resonate.
As the meeting leader, allowing for questions and constructive feedback is crucial. You dictate the tone of the gathering, so ensure it is an open, engaging meeting, whether it is a one-on-one conversation or a whole team gathering.
Communication During the Staff Meetings
The most important part of an effective meeting is clear communication. Staff meetings are a time to provide project updates, discuss business goals, and celebrate achievements.
Many companies end up with meetings with no set agenda and disjointed conversations. Establishing clear, positive communication during the discussion will benefit everyone.
There are several communication tricks that meeting leaders can deploy. Sometimes, meetings are interrupted by an overwhelming amount of questions and updates, leading to a disrupted, hard-to-follow conversation.
It might be best to divide meetings up, with certain periods closed to questions and comments and certain periods open to them. This is best for an entire company meeting, where many people are present, and there are important action points to get through.
A lot of communication in meetings simply comes down to planning. Thinking about which key messages you will deliver when mapping out the discussion, and pondering ways to make sure your message is delivered concisely are all necessary.
Asking questions and bringing people into the conversation without disrupting the meeting is also crucial.
Problem-Solving and Decision-Making
As most of us know, it wouldn’t be a typical meeting without some sort of additional issues cropping up. Problem-solving and making decisions during meetings often become necessary because conversations with large groups of people with different interpersonal relationships rarely go entirely according to plan.
If these problems aren’t solved, and decisions are not reached in a timely fashion, it can derail future meetings.
The duty is on the meeting leader and business management to ensure everything runs smoothly. Solving problems and reaching decisions can be difficult because it requires collaboration and input from many people, some of whom might have diametrically opposed opinions.
Ensuring all stakeholders’ voices are heard, and everything is run up the proper chain of command is critical.
The problem-solving and decision-making process should be as democratic as possible while ensuring the necessary staff members have the final say. Ensuring that the conversation remains civil and doesn’t devolve into an argument is necessary.
One way to control this is by running through a process where the problem is identified, each side speaks their point one at a time, and the key business leaders reach a final decision.
Action Items and Deliverables
Every staff meeting should be set with purpose, with an end goal in sight. One of the key ways to ensure meetings regularly produce the results you are hoping for is by having an agenda, keeping minutes, sharing successes, and providing a deliverable.
The post-meeting process is an important part of the experience, so offering a meeting summary and providing a follow-up email will ensure that everything stays top-of-mind for the attendees.
Having meeting minutes kept and sent to everyone after will ensure that all action and agenda items are met and the purpose of the gathering has been fulfilled. For those who want to improve their performance running the meeting, consider asking participants for honest feedback on how they thought everything went.
Once the meeting has concluded, all agenda items should have been met. Looking over your pre-meeting planning materials to ensure you didn’t miss anything is important, and maintaining communication with everyone following the meeting also helps.
Keeping a Google Doc with the staff meeting topics and a meeting summary provides your other team members with a deliverable that keeps all the pertinent information from the conversation.
Here’s What You Need to Know About Staff Meetings
Staff meetings are a crucial aspect of millions of businesses around the world, as teams collaborate to communicate team accomplishments, and company goals, and provide new project updates and key metrics.
But while a successful staff meeting can ensure everyone is on the same page, a poorly-ran one can lead to wasted time and conflict.
That is why all meetings must be run effectively. Staff needs to focus on the necessary steps like taking notes, setting a staff meeting agenda, and ensuring there is a strong lead in place to dictate the flow of the conversation.
When teams take the time to really follow up on the processes we’ve mentioned above, they can create a meeting environment that is more efficient, communicative, and concise. This leads to a clearer company vision and more positive collaboration.