Set the right tone and create mutual understanding with your new team member using this 1-on-1 template.
You've just been promoted to manager. Congrats!
Whether you're managing a team of 2 or 20, you now have an important role to play in ensuring your team's success. Part of your job will be leading team meetings.
While leading team meetings may seem daunting at first, it's actually not that difficult if you keep a few key things in mind. In this article, we'll share with you the new manager's guide to running effective teams and meetings.
Why Meetings Matter
Before we dive into how to run an effective team meeting, let's first talk about why meetings matter.
Many people see meetings as a waste of time. And while it's true that some meetings are indeed a waste of time, that's usually not because of the meeting itself, but rather because of how the meeting is run.
When run effectively, meetings can be a powerful tool for getting everyone on the same page, sharing information, and making decisions as a team.
How to Run an Effective Team Meeting
Now that we've talked about the importance of meetings, let's dive into how to actually run an effective team meeting.
Set an Agenda
The first step to running an effective team meeting is to set an agenda. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many leaders try to “just wing it” and end up crashing and burning.
When you set an agenda, you ensure that everyone knows what will be discussed at the meeting and that the meeting stays on track. You can create an agenda by yourself or ask for input from your team members.
Start and End on Time
One of the quickest ways to lose your team's attention is to start and end the meeting late. If you say the meeting will start at 10am, start at 10am. And if you say the meeting will end at 11am, end at 11am.
This may seem like a small thing, but it shows your team that you respect their time and that you're organized and efficient.
Alternatively, you can plan to start late. Yes, this my sound counterintuitive at first, but hear me out. If you know that one or more people will likely be late to your meeting, then make that part of the agenda. Add a 5-minute buffer at the beginning of your meeting agenda as a sort of “trickle-in” time. This can help relieve stress for team members with back-to-back meetings, and reward those who are able to show up on time with some quality conversation. Take this time to build stronger connections with your team members by asking them about non-work related subjects. Ask open-ended questions if its just one or two people, or ask an icebreaker question if there’s a few more in the room, like “what’s your all-time favourite movie.”
Keep it focused
Another way to lose your team's attention is to allow the meeting to wander off topic. Once you've set the agenda, stick to it. If someone brings up a tangent, politely redirect the conversation back to the topic at hand and offer to address the tangential subject at a more appropriate time.
One of the goals of a team meeting is to get everyone's input. To do this, you need to encourage participation from all team members, even (and especially) the introverts.
There are a few ways to encourage participation. First, you can ask each team member to share their thoughts on the agenda items before you open up the floor for discussion. This ensures that everyone has a chance to speak.
Second, you can encourage team members to speak up by using inclusive language, such as "what are your thoughts on this?" or "does anyone have any questions?"
Third, you can create an environment where it's safe to speak up by maintaining an open and respectful attitude towards all team members.
Regarding the introverts, this is one of the reasons that preparing an agenda in advance (and sharing it with the group) can have a great impact. Some people may feel like they’re being put on the spot if you ask them questions about a subject they couldn’t prepare for, but by sharing the agenda with them in advance, you give them time to prepare their thoughts.
As the meeting leader, it's your job to make sure that important information is shared with the team. One way to do this is to take notes during the meeting. This way, you can refer back to the notes later and share key points with the team.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be the notetaker, another way to encourage participation in a meeting is to ask for assistance. Consider having a dedicated note-taker from the team, or make that a rotating job for the team members.
The meeting doesn't end when the meeting ends, it's important to follow up with your team afterwards. This means sending out meeting minutes (if you took them), sharing any action items, and following up on any decisions that were made.
By following up after the meeting, you ensure that everyone is on the same page and that important information is not lost.
Running an effective team meeting may seem like a lot of work, but it's actually not that difficult if you keep a few key things in mind. By following the tips in this article, you can ensure that your team meetings are productive, efficient, and respect everyone's time.