Many people believe that they conduct effective meetings, when all they really do is host a party filled with official sounding chit chat. Or worse, they deliver a monologue that bores everyone. In either case, their meetings produce little.
Here’s how to hold a short, effective staff meeting.
1) In general. Keep them short. Most staff meetings should last less than an hour. You want your staff to spend their time working on things that earn money for your business, not sitting in meetings. Keep them positive. Negative meetings contain insults, ridicule, and attacks. These activities create caution and resentment, which always costs your company money. Keep them interactive. Your staff consists of intelligent people. Put them to work in your meetings to advance the effectiveness of your organization.
2) Share news. Give the members of your group one minute to report on progress made in their area of responsibility. You’ll find that this results in bullet point reports of essential information. It also prevents people from philosophizing, explaining, justifying, criticizing, and engaging in other unproductive activities. Plan a time budget: 8 to 10 minutes.
3) Teach something. Invite a guest expert to give a 10 minute presentation on some skill or technology that benefits your group. Tell the expert that you want a logical explanation of practical ideas. You can also ask members of your group to take turns delivering brief tutorials on topics that benefit the others. Plan a time budget: 10 to 15 minutes.
4) Practice skills. Create team learning activities that sharpen or teach skills needed in your business. For example, you could role play job skills (especially useful for sales teams), solve puzzles (useful for high tech groups), or take quizzes (useful for everyone). Ask group members to take turns bringing an activity that reviews or teaches a valuable skill. Follow this activity with a brief recap of key ideas. Then ask the group members to give a fifteen second report on how these ideas can be applied to improve their work. Plan a time budget: 10 to 20 minutes.
5) Solve problems. Give each group member a minute to describe a challenge that hinders work on a current project and then let everyone propose solutions. Suggestions should be brief and free of self aggrandizing explanations or motivational sermons. This process also requires a positive, supportive environment to succeed. If this is used to ridicule, insult, or criticize the individual, then people will be reluctant to reveal issues that need attention. Plan a time budget: 3 to 6 minutes per person.
6) Use a facilitator. A facilitator will help you conduct meetings where the results matter. That way, you can participate, rather than spend your time managing the meeting. A good facilitator will know group decision making processes that move your meeting toward results everyone supports.