While some team meetings can be quick, others drag on for a lot longer than they need to. Striking the right balance between general chit chat and work focused discussion can help everyone be more comfortable with what’s going on, and lead to more efficient team meetings. There are plenty of ways to make team meetings more efficient, but before discussing how to have efficient meetings, it helps to start with what a team meeting is.
What Is A Team Meeting?
A team meeting is a discussion involving two or more people focused around a single or series of topics, tasks, or projects. They are scheduled periods of time set aside from the rest of the working day, and can involve people from a single team, members within a team, or people from across the business working on a project, client, or task.
Team meetings are often carried out in a dedicated room of the business, which is designed for easy presentations and group discussions. They can also be carried out in booths or around a table. The important thing is to move away from the desk to remove any distractions and allow everyone to focus on what’s being said.
With virtual and hybrid teams, team meetings bring people from different places together, and managing everyone this way requires different skills.
Why Are Efficient Team Meetings Important?
Team meetings use up a lot of time from the working day. In many cases, they can overrun which reduces what employees can get done and could impact other meetings. Efficient team meetings allow everyone on the team to get through their to-do lists, moving from discussions to actions faster than ever.
Efficient team meetings are not only completed more quickly, but they help everyone convey and understand information in a clear and concise manner. This removes ambiguity or confusion, ensuring everyone knows what to do, and when to do it.
Should You Include Team Meeting Icebreakers?
Team meeting icebreakers are often what attendees dread the most. They’re considered forced fun, and can make for an incredibly awkward start to a meeting that sets the tone for what’s to come.
They do have some benefits, though, especially for people who don’t know each other well. There are a huge number of icebreakers for team meetings, and all can help people get to know each other, or put staff in a certain frame of mind for the upcoming session.
There are plenty of team meeting icebreaker activities, and many can be used both in-person and virtually. You could try the:
GIF game - react to a certain phrase or action with a popular GIF. Virtual attendees can choose one in the communication tool used by the business or from online, while those present physically can try to recreate it themselves.
Read My Lips game - Pass a phrase from one person to another without speaking. Each person must work out the phrase by reading lips and then doing the same to another person.
Caption game - source some funny/inspiring/weird images and ask everyone to caption what they see.
Most importantly, know who’s attending before choosing a team meeting icebreaker, as this can make it a better - and more useful - experience for everyone.
How To Have Efficient Meetings
For the team meeting itself, there are different ways to ensure it is as useful and valuable as possible. Everyone will prefer different ways of running a meeting, but what matters is whether it brings the best out of everyone involved.
With enough time and practise, efficient team meetings will be the norm if you set them up and run them consistently. Everyone will know what to expect and can be prepared for each meeting they’re invited to.
1. Know The Purpose Of Your Team Meeting
Before organising any team meeting, make sure the purpose of the meeting is clear. This can help cut down on the amount of time a meeting takes, or whether a meeting is needed at all. One of the biggest efficiencies we can make is getting rid of unnecessary meetings that don’t help or add value to your team.
2. Set An Agenda
Team meetings should be focused on the topic, or topics, at hand. It’s too easy to get sidetracked or go off on tangents that aren’t relevant to the purpose of the meeting. An agenda will help everyone stay on track, as the points of discussion will be made clear in advance. This gives everyone time to prepare for an efficient team meeting.
3. Only Invite Relevant People
One of the biggest ways team meetings can be a problem is if more people than needed are invited. Once you know the purpose and agenda, you can identify exactly who needs to be there. This might be the full team, but it can also be individuals from a team, or employees from different teams working on a project. Anyone who needs to be kept in the loop but isn't actively involved in decisions or discussions can spend their time elsewhere and receive a written or verbal summary.
4. Include Time For Discussion
While an agenda can help keep people on track, there needs to be room for discussion and questions in an efficient team meeting. This lets you make sure everyone is on the same page.
This includes time at the start for a team meeting icebreaker if needed, or even just a few minutes for people to catch up together. Doing this can help everyone feel more comfortable and connected, which can help when working together.
5. Ensure Schedules And Action Points Are Clear
Before the end of your team meeting, make sure the action points are clear and understood by everyone involved. This is the perfect opportunity to make sure everyone understands what to do next and when those actions should be completed.
This is crucial to ensure the meeting was a success. If anyone leaves unsure of what they should do, or what will happen next, the meeting might as well not have happened.
Learn How To Have Efficient Meetings To Help Your Team Be More Productive
Making team meetings more efficient will help boost productivity in your business. Staff will have more time to get their tasks done, and meetings will be focused on what matters rather than become a waste of everyone’s time.
While the above tips will help streamline your meetings, you can also look at what courses are available that can teach you how to have efficient meetings. These work for both in-person and virtual meetings, with available training courses that include Presenting Effectively, Virtual Presenting, How To Run Brilliant And Inclusive Virtual Meetings, and many more.