Productivity and collaboration are two of the most important aspects of any team’s success. Having productive meetings is a great way to ensure that your team is on the same page and working together towards common goals. However, coming up with new and innovative ideas for team meetings can be challenging.
To that extent, in this article, we will share some of the best team meeting ideas we have come across. We hope these ideas will help you boost productivity and collaboration within your team and help you achieve success.
Let’s get right into it.
1. Have a reason for every meeting
Have you ever been in an organization that must have a meeting for every conceivable topic? If so, you know how frustrating it can be to constantly have your time interrupted by yet another meeting with no purpose or goals.
On the other hand, a team that rarely meets is often just as unproductive. The key is to have a purpose for every meeting and ensure that all team members are aware of that purpose ahead of time. This way, everyone can prepare for the discussion and be ready to contribute.
2. Keep meetings short
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a long, drawn-out meeting with no end in sight. If you find that your sessions are starting to drag on, try to keep them shorter by setting a time limit. You can also try breaking up longer meetings into smaller, more manageable chunks.
An excellent way to decide how long your meetings should be is to think about the task at hand and the attention span of your team members. If you’re discussing a complex topic, it might take longer than if you’re checking in on progress or brainstorming ideas.
3. Set a plan and stick to it
If you want your meetings to be productive, it’s essential to have an agenda. The agenda should be sent out to all team members, so everyone knows what will be discussed. Once the meeting starts, stick to the agenda as much as possible. This will help keep the meeting on track and prevent it from going off on tangents.
Whether you’re holding virtual meetings or in-person ones, an agenda is a must. Having this in place ensures that everyone is on the same page and that all essential topics are covered.
4. Start and end on time
Starting and ending meetings on time shows respect for everyone’s time. It can be tempting to let sessions run over, but try to avoid doing this if possible. If your meetings are regularly over their allotted time, try to shorten them or break them into smaller sessions.
This also shows everyone that company time is valuable and by respecting theirs, they will in turn, value yours more.
5. Encourage open discussion
Open discussion is essential for productive meetings. Team members should feel more than comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and suggestions without fear of judgment or reprisal. This open exchange of ideas will help the team to generate new and innovative solutions to problems.
Let’s say that as a CBD company exploring various THC products to include in your lineup, not everyone is sold on the idea of specific items to include. You might want to encourage open discussion about the pros and cons of having such THC items in your lineup. This way, you can hear all sides of the argument and make a decision that is best for the business.
6. Brainstorm solutions as a team
Brainstorming is a great way to generate new ideas and solve problems as a team. When brainstorming, it’s essential to encourage all team members to contribute their opinions, no matter how “out there” they may seem. The more ideas generated, the greater the chance of coming up with an effective solution.
Imagine as a team, you’re trying to decide which B2B SaaS SEO agency to hire as part of your lead generation strategy. You could brainstorm a list of potential agencies to consider together as a team.
Comparing the pros and cons of various options, along with how these will affect the business moving forward, is another great way to solve problems as a team. This process can be used to make decisions on various aspects from which software to use to which vendor to hire for a specific project.
7. Appoint a meeting leader
Every meeting should have a designated leader who will be responsible for keeping the meeting on track. The meeting leader should keep the discussion focused and ensure that all team members have a chance to contribute.
While some people are more natural leaders, anyone can be a meeting leader with the proper training and desire. If you’re looking to improve your meeting leadership skills, plenty of resources are available online, including articles, tutorials, and courses.
8. Take breaks for longer meetings
If you’re holding a more extended meeting, you must take breaks often. This will allow everyone to stretch their legs, grab a coffee, or use the restroom. Breaks will also help to keep people from getting too restless or distracted.
9. Get everyone’s input
In order for meetings to be productive, it’s essential to get everyone’s input. All team members should have a chance to share their ideas and opinions. If not, it can lead to resentment and conflict if someone feels like they’re not being heard.
Here are a couple of communication strategies that can be used as a way to make sure everyone’s voice is heard:
- Use a “round robin” style discussion, where each person takes a turn sharing their ideas
- Use a “parking lot” to write down ideas people want to discuss but don’t fit into the current meeting’s agenda. These can be addressed at a later time.
10. Use visual aids
Visual aids can be a great way to engage team members and make meetings more productive. Try using a whiteboard or flipchart to brainstorm ideas or take notes. You can also use PowerPoint presentations or other visuals to help illustrate your points.
Visual meetings not only help team members to stay focused and engaged but also make it easier to remember what was discussed after the meeting is over.
11. Keep meeting minutes and distribute them afterward
Knowing what was discussed and decided in a meeting is crucial for moving projects forward. For this reason, it’s important to keep minutes and ensure that everyone gets a copy after the meeting is finished.
This way, everyone will be on the same page, and there will be no confusion about what needs to be done to move forward.
12. Reward good ideas
If you want people to share their ideas, it’s essential to reward the good ones. This can be done verbally, with a thank you or positive feedback. You can also offer tangible rewards, such as gift cards or tickets to an event for the best ideas that get implemented. Whatever you do, make sure that people feel their contributions are valued.
Incentivizing team members to share their ideas is always a great way to boost productivity and collaboration.
13. Use the right software
There are a lot of different software programs out there that can help with team collaboration and communication. Some of these programs are better than others, so it’s essential to do your research and find the one that best suits your needs.
While many go for Microsoft Teams for its various features that include threaded conversations and real-time collaboration, there are other various alternatives that a business might want to consider.
This could include software such as Slack, Google Hangouts, Zoom, and others that offer a more niched selection of features. Using the right project management tools can also help make meetings more productive.
14. Encourage dissenting opinions
For meetings to be productive, it’s essential to encourage dissenting opinions. If everyone agrees all the time, potential new and innovative ideas will not be generated. Encouraging opinions that might go against the grain will also help with the previous point we mentioned in terms of making team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas.
That said, being organized when discussing dissenting opinions is essential as well. One way to do this is to have each person share their opinion on a specific topic and then have someone else summarize the main points. This will help to keep the discussion focused and on track.
15. Avoid groupthink
Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when people are more concerned with fitting in and being liked than with thinking for themselves. This can lead to poor decision-making and sabotage a team’s success. To avoid groupthink, it’s important to encourage a culture of healthy debate.
Especially when you have authority figures in a meeting, it’s easy for people to go along with what they think you want to hear. To put everything in perspective, this type of authority bias results in as many as 25% of aircraft simulators crashing when a pilot and a copilot are in the same room. If this is true in a life-or-death situation, you can imagine that this is easily transferable to business meetings.
To avoid such a scenario, it’s best to set some ground rules when it comes to participation. This could mean that everyone needs to participate in a meeting and that no idea is better than another until it’s adequately vetted.
16. Make it fun
Meetings don’t have to be all business all the time. Adding some fun into the mix can make them more productive. Try incorporating games or activities that get people moving and thinking creatively.
17. Get out of the office/workspace every so often for your meetings
If you’re looking for ways to make meetings more enjoyable, try holding them in different locations from time to time. This doesn’t mean that you have to book a fancy conference room every time, but simply getting out of the office can help to freshen things up. If you work from an office-based company, try holding your next meeting in a nearby park or coffee shop. You could also try renting out an alternative meeting space to work from for a day or two if you have the budget.
18. Change up the format occasionally
While having a meeting cadence is essential, it’s also good to mix things up from time to time. For example, you could hold a more informal ‘walking meeting’ where you go for a walk around the block while you chat, or try holding a standing meeting instead of sitting down the whole time.
19. Allow for flexible meeting times every so often
One of the best ways to make meetings more productive is to allow flexible meeting times. This means that people can choose when they want to attend the meeting. For example, if you have two weekly team meetings, you could allow people to choose the actual time, for example, giving them the option of attending either at 10 am or 2 pm. This way, people can schedule their day around the meeting rather than the other way around.
20. Don’t be afraid to adjourn a meeting if it’s not productive
If an appointment isn’t going well, don’t be scared to adjourn it. If the purpose of the meeting isn’t being met, there’s no point in continuing. Sometimes, it’s better to end the meeting early and regroup later.
21. Follow up after meetings
It’s essential to follow up after meetings with those who attended and those who didn’t. For those who attended, you should thank them for their time and send them a copy of the meeting minutes. For those that weren’t able to make it, you should send them a brief summary of what was discussed. This follow-up will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what needs to be done next.
22. Take meeting notes
This might go without saying but having someone taking meeting notes is essential. Improving the quality of your meeting notes can make people more productive. Some ideas include using templates, incorporating visuals, and using apps or software programs.
While it might not look like it in the moment, meeting notes will serve you well down the road. Having detailed meeting notes will help you to review what was discussed, identify action items, and track progress over time.
Types of meetings you can run
While the 15-minute sprint meeting might be the only type of meeting that comes to mind for most employees in an organization, there are various other kinds of meetings that can be useful in different situations.
Here are some of the key ones.
A brainstorming session is a meeting in which people come together to generate ideas or solutions to a problem. These types of meetings are typically unstructured, with little to no agenda. The goal is simply to get people thinking creatively and to come up with as many ideas as possible.
For example, if a company is looking to come up with a new marketing campaign, they might hold a brainstorming session to get employees’ ideas. The ideas generated in the meeting might then be used to create a more formal plan.
Training or Workshops
Training or workshop is a meeting in which someone leads a group in learning about a particular topic. These types of arrangements are usually structured, with a specific agenda and goals. They often involve some form of interactive activities or exercises.
Lectures or Presentations
A lecture or presentation is a meeting in which someone shares information with a group. These differ from training or workshops in that they are typically more one-way, with the presenter doing most of the talking, and are helpful when sharing detailed information.
A group discussion is a meeting where people come together to discuss a particular topic. These types of arrangements are usually structured, with the aim being established before the meeting starts. The goal is to get people talking and sharing their thoughts on the subject and then deciding on what the next action steps should be.
A question-and-answer period is a meeting in which people have the opportunity to ask questions and get clarification on a particular topic. These types of meetings can be helpful when there is new information to share or when people need clarification on something.
They also serve as a way to get feedback from the team, allowing for a two-way discussion.
A status-update meeting is a meeting in which people share information about the progress of a particular project or task. These meetings are usually structured, giving everyone a chance to share their update in a specific order. The focus is typically on sharing knowledge related to the projects people are working on and allowing others to ask questions to get needed clarification.
Meetings are a necessary part of any business or organization. However, they can often be unproductive or even counterproductive.
If you want to get the most out of your meetings, consider implementing some of the meeting ideas discussed in this article. Doing so will boost productivity and increase collaboration among team members.