9 Tips to Efficient and Productive Team Meetings

Team meetings are part and parcel of running an organisation. This is where team members discuss important topics, make decisions, create action plans and gather up for a quick business recap or goal setting sessions. Some companies schedule a weekly meetup, others bi-weekly and some opting for monthly sit-downs. External service providers like lawyers, accountants and bookkeepers in Brisbane are often invited to company meetings where their inputs are required.

Company meetings can be a complete waste of time and resources if improperly hosted and ill-prepared. Here are some tips to better manage and prepare for your next meeting;

  1. Start prepared. Preparation is key to successful and productive meetings. Your preparation checklist should include location confirmation – do you have enough seats, does the room has an overhead projector or is it reserved for your use? You should also send out agenda of the meeting to all participants at least a day before it is scheduled. Include in the email any relevant information and documents. Meetings are for discussions, not information sharing. Lastly, be prepared with your facts, data and discussion points. Do the research, double check your data and prepare your presentation.
  2. Get their attention. Start the meeting by making sure that everyone in the room focuses on what’s on hand – the meeting. You can start with a joke or an icebreaker to cut the tension and set the mood. A five-minute fun pre-meeting period is perfect for this, while you wait for latecomers. Then firmly transition the meeting to its main phase. Formally start the meeting by reading out the agenda or by asking everyone if they’ve received their copy in the email.
  3. Engage everyone. Don’t do all the talking. Instead of doing all the reporting, ask other teammates who were also involved in the project to present or discuss their work. Your Brisbane bookkeeper will be more adept at discussing the income statement, while the marketing manager is the best person to present the marketing planned campaigns. You can also invite guest speakers to company motivational meetings. Encourage everyone to speak out or say something. Accept and appreciate all suggestions and ideas. Meetings are great opportunities to instil team bonding and cohesiveness.  
  4. Streamline your agenda. Minimise your topics for the meeting. If something can be decided on outside of the meeting room, keep it out of the agenda. Two to three main topics are enough, five is too many. Too many things to discuss will not make you more productive, it will only muddle the discussion and prolong the meeting.
  5. Keep it short and sweet. Team meetings should be kept short and efficient. A regular weekly meeting can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour long. Go straight to your topic list and make sure everything is discussed. If no decision can be reached, you can earmark the topic for the next meeting. Prolonging the meeting will use up productive time your teammate would rather spend completing important tasks.
  6. Use the sandwich trick. Start the meeting with something positive like a goal achieved, a good business forecast or someone’s birthday. It will set a positive tone for the meeting. And then you discuss all the nitty-gritty of the business. Save the last few minutes to take up exciting and inspiring topics. Ending on a positive note will have your teammates leaving the meeting happy and encouraged.
  7. Change locations. Company meetings don’t have to be always in your office meeting room. Change of locations is fun and creative, eliminating the idea of boring sit-down discussion meetings. For informal meetings, team lunches can double for it. You can also schedule a team outing – go bowling, enjoy coffee or karaoke night. For more formal company assembly – take out the convention to formal venues and centres.
  8. Pop up fun surprises. Make it a habit to inject an element of surprise to your company meetings. This will encourage team members to attend, instead of avoiding it. Food is a foolproof way to pleasantly surprise the attendees – doughnuts, pizza or some cupcakes can enliven the meeting. Other surprises can be a change of location, a guest speaker or a fun game.
  9. Send the after-meeting email. Closing the meeting isn’t when you disperse back to your work routine. As the meeting host and moderator, you are required to send out the minutes of the meeting. It should contain the agenda of the meeting, the attendees, the discussion minutes, decisions reached and other notes. Ideally, the minutes should be sent within 24 hours after the meeting has adjourned. However, if more urgent and time-sensitive matters were discussed, it should be sent out an hour or two after the meeting. This is sent to all attendees and other significant individuals who should be aware of the meeting like your Brisbane bookkeeper, the CEO and major investors.