Don't Make These Team Meeting Mistakes
Team meetings are rarely the most enjoyable time for any department. They are necessary, but often overdone. Often, teams meet too frequently without a valid reason.
4 MINUTE READ
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October 2, 2018

Team meetings are rarely the most enjoyable time for any department. They are necessary, but often overdone. Often, teams meet too frequently without a valid reason.

Team meetings should have a clear purpose and intentional action items. Without a good reason to have a meeting, that time could be spent accomplishing important work. Read on to learn more about avoiding common team meeting mistakes.

Mistake #1: Senseless Recurring or Weekly Meetings

It's easy to get into the habit of scheduling weekly meetings, even if they aren't necessary. If nothing is accomplished, there is not usually a reason to meet.

Before you schedule a recurring meeting series, make sure there is a good reason. Does each meeting have a clear agenda? Does it include thoughtful problem-solving? If not, skip it and use different methods for regular communication.

For example, use a team chat app to aid in daily communication across teams. One great product is a social performance management software tool called Samewave. It helps teams create and communicate about projects, tasks and commitments with the power of Promise-Based Management and Social Discipline. Try today, for free.

Many managers feel the need to schedule weekly check-ins with their direct reports. While frequent communication can be helpful, team members often dread pointless weekly meetings with no clear objectives. Don't waste time with ineffective meetings. Instead, communicate on a regular basis and have short meetings when needed.  

Mistake #2: No Agenda Items

Have you ever arrived at a meeting without knowing why you are there? Effective meetings, whether they are in-person or remote, have clear goals and objectives. Everyone knows what should be accomplished during your time together.

As a team leader, make sure you pave the way for an effective meeting ensuring meeting time is optimised by sending an agenda beforehand, designating meeting leaders, crafting decision-making opportunities and allowing time for participants to voice new ideas.

Even better, switch up team member roles for each meeting to keep the meetings fresh. A C-level executive doesn't have to lead every meeting. Plus, you give other team members the opportunity to showcase their organisation and leadership skills with fresh, new opportunities.

Mistake #3: Not Creating Ground Rules

Have you ever arrived to a meeting on time and half of the participants aren't there yet? It's certainly annoying and a pet peeve of many professionals.

Create ground rules for effective team meetings so everyone involved in the meeting can agree upon them organisation-wide. Here are a few examples:

  • Arrive on time. If someone is late (regardless of rank), begin no less than five minutes after the arranged meeting time.
  • Minimize distractions. Ask meeting participants to not bring their cell phones, put them on silent and only take calls based on emergencies.
  • Stay on task. It's easy to get derailed with every new idea, even if it's a good one. Create a document for things to discuss later and set up a follow-up meeting so team members don't feel their ideas are dismissed. They are still important!
  • Start on time and end on time. Time limits matter. Everyone's time is valuable, regardless of rank. Often, team leaders feel entitled to extend or move meeting times at moment's notice. If there is still work to be done at the end of the allotted meeting time, schedule a follow-up meeting for those who need to be involved.
  • Designate a meeting chair. This person can record minutes, send the follow-up action items and set the next meeting date.

Mistake #4: Wasting Productive Time

Let's be honest. Most companies have way too many meetings that aren't necessary. Many meetings can be drastically shortened or even eliminated with frequent, robust communication and the right business tools.

Do you really need to have a one-on-one meeting with every direct report? Is that a productive meeting? If you're communicating regularly, weekly meetings and assigned status updates are rarely needed.

Samewave helps teams create and accomplish collective work with software that keeps everyone on the same page. Team leaders can create goals and targets, assign tasks, generate automatic reports and foster accountability towards goals in one transparent place.

Before you schedule a team meeting that could be handled with a team communication app, consider the following:

  • Does the meeting foster team building?
  • Is there a clear agenda with agreed-upon action items and desired outcomes?
  • Is everyone invited to the meeting able to share something meaningful? If not, should they be using their time to participate in the meeting?
  • Is there a clear team meeting agenda? Don't have a meeting without one.
  • Is there a clear common goal as a result of the meeting? If not, reconsider the purpose of the meeting.

It's so common for businesses to waste time having meetings that don't affect the bottom line, generate new business, drive employee engagement or spur action. Before you schedule any new meeting, pay attention to your intended result beforehand.

Even better, you and your team can try out Samewave, for free.

Plan the Most Effective Team Meetings Thoughtfully

Now that you know the cornerstones of planning the most effective meetings, implement these strategies today. More meetings does not equal driving better business results.

Your team members in every department will appreciate their calendar not being crowded with endless meetings that take away from accomplishing their most important work. Don't waste people's time with recurring meetings that don't make a difference. Spend that time measuring results and business impact.

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