Regular meetings are essential to small and big companies as well as for projects and ideas. These meetings will be a great way to measure progress, to receive feedback from the team and to evaluate the levels of motivation and energy given to specific tasks. After working with different start-ups, entrepreneurial projects and small developing business, I’ve perceived a fear of wasting time on meetings of this kind. Yes, weeks might require a lot of time to complete tasks and fix unexpected issues. However, find time for these regular meetings because it is valuable time to come close to your team and listen to them. You are all one team working towards the same goals. Embrace this time together. Here are five tips to make the most out of these meetings:
- Fix a regular day and time to follow every week
Having a fixed hour and fixed day per week will allow everyone to organize their time around that. Make sure everybody in the company knows about this fixed week-meetings. Also, be flexible if the meeting needs to be moved for some reasons, but don’t cancel it. Regularity will bring a sense of unity to the team, it will put a due date to many tasks and it will open a space to receive feedback, redirect efforts and organize the upcoming week. It is recommended to do this at the beginning of the week as it is a nice way of channeling everyone’s attention out of weekend’s dispersion and into a week of efficiency. These meetings should not take more than one hour if they are well managed.
- Have a list of topics to go over
Make sure you know what projects are been run and who is leading them. Have a list with all of these and let the leaders speak about their advances, problems and new questions that they might have. Also list operational and organizational topics. If there are no specific issues listed here, take a few minutes to ask the participants if everything is working properly and if there are any suggestions or concerns related to the business internal operations. Having a list will reduce time spent talking about unnecessary topics.
- Don’t let topics deviate or overstretch
As soon as one topic from the list is checked, move straight to the next. Listen carefully and identify when a specific project needs further attention. If you feel a subject needs longer than 5 minutes to be discussed, make a specific appointment for that project and the team involved in it. Then move on to the next topic. This is a regular general meeting so make sure it gives a good overview of all projects in process and issues to be solved; who is working on them and due dates. Let everyone speak if they have something to say and don’t be afraid to let anyone know if their topic should be discussed separately. Humor can help lowering the tension during stressful meetings, but don’t let jokes (or discussions) take over time. Stop these before they expand to an unnecessary level.
- If something is brought to the table, don’t ignore it
This is also a moment to share emotions, feelings and thoughts. Allow your team to bring their words to the table. Identify a proper balance between fixed topics and unexpected but relevant ones. If necessary, make new and individual appointments to address specific issues. If unexpected topics require the attention of everyone, be open to discuss. It is better to dedicate a few extra minutes to these issues, than finding another time for everyone to meet again. This is an excellent opportunity to work on your listening skills. Not every topic needs further discussion. Sometimes participants just want to be heard. This quote can guide you on and your team on this: “With the right to speak, comes the duty to be brief” – Karl Popper.
- Learn from past Meetings to fine-tune the upcoming Ones
As long as you keep this process regular, the team will organically learn how to manage this time together for the benefit of the project or business. Learn from every meeting. There are no bad or good meetings. Receive and be grateful for this time. Dense and stressful meetings can teach you how to deal with certain moments, people and topics in a more efficient way. Be thankful for your team and encourage them to reach their goals. Offer your help on every project and be open to continue with any discussion outside meeting’s time.
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