Years ago while part working for a global entertainment company here in Los Angeles, something I had joked about for years…finally happened. I was in yet another Senior Team meeting. It was the third meeting of the day. Five minutes into the meeting I realized I was in a meeting-about a meeting!! That was it…I’d had enough. The time had come to take matters into my own hands. I swore from that day on that I would do everything in my power to make sure that any meeting I was part of would have an agenda. It’s the only way to not waste everybody’s time.
Here are some helpful tips to run a successful team meeting.
1.) Set a specific time for the meeting. Give it a start time and an ending time. This will help with the pacing of the meeting. If your meeting is an hour long with 5 agenda points (see 4 below) you pretty much know that you have roughly 10-12 minutes for each point to be discussed.
2.) Be on time. It sends a terrible message to your team if you are the one habitually late to meetings. First it displays your bad time management skills and secondly it sends a message that your time is more valuable than others. Yes, we all know problems arise, fires need to be put out and projects get derailed-but make an effort to be on time.
3.) Make sure the right team members are present. Who is actually vital to the main topic of the meeting? Make sure they are there…not the entire team.
4.) Have an agenda. This helps everybody in the meeting to know exactly what’s going to be discussed during the meeting. Break down the meeting into small bite sized bits. This helps to accomplish a few things. First, everyone in attendance will be able to determine which parts of the meeting agenda specifically pertains to them. This also allows them to make notes ahead of time to answer questions.
5.) Use a timer. I have found through the years that this can be a really handy way to keep yourself and your team members on time. Use your iPhone timer or your watch. Let people you will be using this method for the benefit of everyone at the meeting. Trust me…it works.
6.) Take notes. This does not mean that you have to take notes…but make sure it gets done. There a few different ways to approach this. You can either assign it someone on a permanent basis or a rotating basis. Once the notes have been taken make sure that they are distributed to all team members in attendance as soon as possible after the meeting.
7.) Assign action points. During the course of the meeting when new tasks are discovered make sure that they get assigned during the meeting. Make sure that the tasks are assigned to the team members with complete info: what the task involves, what is the due date and who gets confirmation of the task being completed.
Finally, there is one last question to the throw out to the room once you’ve completed the meeting. What needs to be done from this point forward to take us to our next step? Look around the room and you will see a sigh of relief that you asked the question. Everybody had it on their mind and are now relieved that it has been put on the table.
Jedi mind trick!
As always, onward and upward.