“Meetings should be like salt - a spice sprinkled carefully to enhance a dish, not poured recklessly over every forkful. Too much salt destroys a dish. Too many meetings destroy morale and motivation,” says Basecamp co-founder and CEO Jason Fried.
Rightly so, team meetings do not have to be eternal. Short meetings are more fulfilling than longer ones as they are expected to be concise and precise and, in turn, save time and leave scope for productivity.
In the wake of Covid-19, remote working has brought with it a series of challenges out of which daily, lengthy team meetings top the list. The meetings are predominantly held to overcome coordination challenges within team members but somewhere down the line, they also lead to video/audio fatigue thereby impacting employee productivity.
How can one define an effective meeting? A meeting can be productive only if we bring together a group of people for a certain purpose. This particular group must be selected thoughtfully and be open to all kinds of discussions concerning the agenda of the team meeting. Most importantly, the meeting must end with a tangible outcome, either in the form of a plan or decision. However, it is not an easy task to accomplish as it entails a lot of concerns that are required to be considered right from planning a meeting.
To start with, ask yourself why you want to schedule a team meeting. This will eventually help you to be specific during the meeting and avoid unnecessary discussions and keep things brief. This can save a lot of time to undertake further tasks that may have to be completed for the day. This also lets you understand the seriousness and timeliness of the day you have selected for the meeting and accordingly cancel it if need be.
Another considerable tip for an effective team meeting is to invite only the concerned people to the meeting. An appropriate way to select people for the meeting is by deciding about the people you are planning to invite based on what role they will play in the meeting. If it is found that the people you are planning to invite do not add any value to the table, then it is better to replace them with those whose opinion or knowledge might help the meeting in being effective and productive.
There are a lot of instances where meetings are delayed or extended. Though it might not affect the meeting directly, eventually it may affect the schedule of all the people attending it. It also affects the effectiveness of the meeting as being late for the meeting or extending it disturbs the mindset of the people who are on time with utmost preparation.
It is beneficial to inform the people about what the meeting is about. This is so that people who are invited to the meeting can be prepared for it. For instance, if the meeting is held only to inform employees about a decision, then the attendees do not have to carry a notepad and a pen or give it much thought for preparation. However, if it requires the members to brainstorm in between, then it would be better to inform them beforehand.
All the points mentioned in the meetings might be important to remember for future. It is required to make notes on them accordingly. However, sometimes there are cases where some people are not able to jot down points they may have missed focusing on during a particular discussion. In such cases, if the members ask for notes collaboratively, then it would help everybody involved. Lastly, to implement such a thing, programs like Google docs and Google sheets can be used, which can be simply used to make notes by one and shared with the others.
Turning on the camera can help the host understand the body language of the attendees and change his/her approach accordingly to make the meeting more interesting and interactive. It also prompts one to be focused in the meeting and not take it lightly.
Ask attendees of the meeting about the problems they may have faced during the meeting. Also, allow them to be anonymous about their feedback, if needed. Moreover, after validating the meeting, its purpose, and the outcome you had from it, look for the areas of development in the meeting, so that you can improve the same in the future meetings.