How can I structure our employee meetings to keep everyone aware and on task of what we're working towards?
Recently, there has been miscommunication between my team members and management on the best practices for our company and where our resources should be spent. I don't want to waste any more time and am looking for innovative ways to get my employees focused. Please advise, thank you.
First of all poor communication damages trust and trust is critical to the relational factor of meetings which can lead to a breakdown in colaboration.
I suggest the following to improve meetings...A clear agenda.
Deal with quick decision items first.
Set an end time for the meeting so everyone understands when its finished.
Don't leave important items for the end put them in the middle.
Don't put insignificant items on the agenda just to fill it up.
Have ground rules.
Set time limits for agenda items.
Let your team self-evaluate how effective they thing your meetings are. (message me and I can send you an evaluation)
Put every agenda item on trial for its life…Does it really need the attention of the entire team in a formal meeting?
Have a parking lot for off topic items to bring back at a later date.
Appoint a gatekeeper to keep everyone on track and to watch the time.
Occasionally let other team members facilitate the meeting so they undertstand the challenge of doing so.
Understand group dynamics and the needs of different personalities.
Create an environment that is open to healthy conflict.
Thats probably good for now, I have more if you need it.
Great question! I get this a lot from my coaching clients. There are 3 simple ways to conduct a meeting but are super powerful and will work on keeping you on task every time.
1. Define the clear outcome that you hope to accomplish in the meeting and make sure everyone is aware of it. Sounds like common sense and it is, but often overlooked. You may want to take it even further and clarify and gain agreement before the meeting starts with all of the participants so that it is crystal clear.
2. Clearly define and articulate the purpose of the meeting. List at least 3 reasons if you can. That way you ill control the focus of the room on your outcome and the purpose.
3. Come up with action items, implement action items or review action items. This is the practical strategy that will help you achieve the goal you established and the purpose. This is typically what the meeting is "about."
I hope this helps. If you would like more information on how to implement this strategy, let me know.
Coach David Brownlee
DavidBrownlee dot com
give them an agenda beforehand and put in it areas or area you wish discuss and ask for input before the meeting so everyone is set, and no surprises or the possibility of everyone droning on...
First you need to structure your meetings base on task priority.
Each team member must have some input to update his/her project portion.
Goals should be established prior to the meeting
A state of resources update must also be developed and how those resources better fit the priority tasks.
All this must be published as notes with the agenda.
Use a Scrum board !
or if you have some money, use a scrum management tool , like Jira or Versionone, where everyone can see his assigned tickets, and have a helicopter overview on his taks, and every one else's. Also burndown charts will give them overview of the whole thing.
If you are not using scrum to manage your work, you may use simpler tools like trello .
Still the same concept.
Through Internet Technology and using QnA format...Anyone can share any query or information that has a relevance and all the communication should got through that format. In that case no information is missed. This is cost effective also.
Develop a Google Group for your organization and use it to stay connected with all employees and share working goals and set agenda and share it on the group and encourage people to give feed back.
Also a what's app group conversation may also help all employees about updates and happenings about organization 24/7
Use technology as tool for success such as social media
Have daily 5 to 10 minutes meeting wit them all.
Nice follow through on your golf swing.
Like a great golf swing, productive meetings take preparation. Agendas are great if people can see them before hand. Share not only what you'll be covering but how you'll address each point. Request participants' ideas for discussions, case studies, stories, and unique ways of making each agenda item pertinent to everyone. Authorship is ownership, so make room for each person's signature by getting them to prepare to participate.
Please adopt management software e.g small business management software,e-diary at kunworld, in which all meetings minutes are there and every member can easily approach it and only leader can write on it,...
All this is great, but depending on the size of your organization and the point you are trying to get across to everyone, the clear agenda and all the other tools are great, but you still risk losing interest and people not retaining the information necessary for success.
The miscommunication is with your management team. If they are not provided the correct information and then providing it to their teams, they are not credible. Educate your managers to educate your teams and get them involved. This allows them to excel as leaders and if done correctly, their teams will have greater respect as the managers are doing what they are sharing.
Try to get it interactive. Again, not knowing the type of organization and the type of people, look for innovative ways to integrate the training on iPads and tablets or smartphones. Just about everyone has one these days and their are some amazing programs available.
As a college teacher I have had to find ways to keep my students interested on topic. I did so by getting them involved with the topic and making it interesting to them. At work, I do the same thing with my teams or they won't be interested.
My managers, well, I want them to become successful leaders to their teams so I train them to train their teams. This gets the manager involved with the team and they all understand the expectations.
Meetings are for making decisions, not disseminating information. Distribute the details in the meeting invite, or as attachments, or on a separate email chain.
No meeting should ever last more than a half an hour, and as long as it's just for making decisions, then get that done in 30 minutes and have everyone back to work and reasonably alert.
Just a couple of things to add to some great answers already. 1. No meeting should last longer than 45 mins, maximum amount of time before minds start to wander. 2. Agenda ...and stick to it. 3. Cut out people who have no reason to attend the meeting. This can be hard, but the less people who attend the better. When everyone's assistant and their intern attends ...nothing gets done and nothing gets agreed. You only open the door for point scoring.
Hope this helps.
I suggest that you keep everyone focused and well prepared quick tips:
1. Have your managers/heads/directors prepare KPI's and progress slides templates (you need one template for all departments/ divisions)
2. Make sure you have a fixed time every week.
3. Make sure each project/task has ONE owner
4. Use visuals in your templates i.e. red for tasks that are delayed with explanation why it was delayed.
I hope this is helpful
You have a treasure trove of great suggestions here! I can only add a few (general guidelines) based on my experience and observation of meetings I have attended:
1. Keep your agenda to just three (3) main points. Often, meetings have just too much on the agenda. A lot of it can be handled outside of a meeting.
2. Keep your meeting short and fast-paced. The longer the time set for a meeting, and the slower its pace, the greater the chances that those attending the meeting will treat it like a lunch break. It's better to have several short meetings than a few long ones.
3. No food. Not even chips and soda. Food only serves to distract.
4. Keep your meeting hyper-focused. If it's for updates, the entire meeting should be about updates only. If it's for brainstorming, then that's all you should do.
5. Use tools to take the place of meetings. Trello, Slack, Basecamp, etc are all useful if utilized properly.
6. Maintain an atmosphere of urgency. Try to avoid humor, banter, and the like. If you create the right kind of tension, it is actually motivating and will keep people alert..
7. But first and foremost, determine whether a meeting is really the BEST vehicle for carrying out your objective.
Based (solely) on what you stated above (plus a few assumptions I am left to make), I would suggest that you first figure out why there seems to be a miscommunication to begin with. Were the subjects of best practices and resource allocations communicated clearly? Maybe it's a problem of compliance then?
If it's the same as what I observed and experienced in a past company, it was a matter of talking to the team members one at a time in closed-door 1-on-1's to ensure that each one stayed the course.
It might also help if put the best practices and resource allocations in black and white. You can place this in your team's blog site. (Use easy to read bullets or very short paragraphs.) Require everyone to read it for their guidance. And announce to them that they can approach you if they have any questions.
I hope this helps.
Resolving the miscommunication should be done in a roundtable discussion. This might allow the management team to save face, meanwhile forget innovation when you want clarity. Take it back to gradeschool with bulleted lists, simple presentations, and optionally a chalkboard. The clearer you can make it the better.
1- You can have a monday or friday morning (or lunch) meeting with all the colleagues - have 2 minutes round up what s/he is going to do this coming week and what has been done last week. make records (assign someone to write immediately with short sentences)
2 - send out questions to all the employee though the network or email (which one works for your office) - what is the plan for this week and what had been completed last week...everything should be formed within a time frame, so that employees know how they are going to do it and when is the dead line.
if some one cannot catch up with the quality, give him scope to explain and find out what is the problem (individual). respect all and encourage your employees to achieve their weekly goal...
This is a common challenge for business owner's and senior management; here are a few suggestions.
Make sure that everyone understands the direction the company is heading and the goals that have been established.
I usually have separate meetings with my managers and team members, then bring them all together as one unit. Team meetings are held on Monday mornings with a follow up Friday afternoon with only the managers. The reason for the separate meetings is to make sure the managers understand the status of the company. This is also a time to listen to any objections they may have operationally. In the meeting with the team members, which is held first, you should allow them to speak freely, usually they will provide information regarding how things are going. Prior to meeting with the entire team the management team must be on the same page.
To keep the meeting moving have an agenda, a timekeeper, a note taker, and action items.
After the meetings send out a summary; it should have who spoke and what was said, additionally if there are action items, the summary should list what the action is, who is responsible and time frame for completion.
Establishing accountability and open communication you should start to see an uptick in productivity.
Hope this helps, good luck.
If you aren't certain where your best path to max productivity is you may benefit from some consulting. If you do know your course perhaps just a couple of good apps for intercompany texting & project management may be all you need to run with?...
You already have received some good advice here. Let me suggest one more element to improve the quality of your meetings. I have been using an app, called MeetingQuality (note: it is not my product, I just use it) and you can access it at meetingquality.com There is even a free trial period. Let me know how you go.
Keep the meeting 20 minutes and under and pepper it with entertaining anecdotes.