How to Prepare for a Team Meeting
Go ahead and imagine the most effective meeting you’ve been part of. It was probably a high-energy event, where everyone got an opportunity to express opinions and ask questions. The team members joined forces to solve an issue or make an important decision. Things were well-planned, but the meeting did not seem forced at all.
That’s the idea of a perfect team meeting. When you try to engage the team to such a level and you do your best to plan the perfect team meeting, things might not turn out that well.
When it comes to arranging meetings with hourly employees, things are even more difficult. These people haven’t spent much time with each other, so it’s hard for them to consider themselves as being part of a team. They just don’t feel that collective energy.
Why does that happen? Why do team meetings fail sometimes?
Good planning makes all the difference. A great team manager will invest a lot of effort to organize such an event and create the perfect climate to inspire creative and critical thinking. They won’t allow any challenge to stop them from achieving their goal. If it’s a team meeting with hourly employees, they will effectively manage it.
So how do you get there? How do you prepare for a great team meeting? We have a few tips for you to follow:
Planning: The Secret to Good Team Meetings
<div id="Attitude" style="margin-top: -86px; padding-top: 86px;"><strong>1. Start With Your Attitude</strong></div>
Everything starts with your own attitude. If you don’t like meetings and you’re constantly procrastinating them, your chances of having a great one are slim.
Do you like meetings?
If your answer to that question was “not particularly,” then you have to alter your mindset. The purpose of a meeting is to motivate, trigger collaboration, inspire, inform, solve problems, and make decisions. All these things are crucially important for the success of your organization.
A manager’s job description is not limited to occasional conference calls, even when you’re dealing with remote employees. You’re a leader and you have to work with these people. The meetings give you a chance to do that in the best way possible.
Start seeing the meetings not as a burden, but as an opportunity! They can be fun. They give you a chance to get to know these people and recognize their strengths. They might give you ideas you never thought of, so you’ll move the organizational processes forward.
Shift your mindset! That’s your first step towards planning a great meeting.
<div id="Spread" style="margin-top: -86px; padding-top: 86px;"><strong>2. Spread the Good Attitude Around</strong></div>
You’re not the only one with a potentially bad attitude towards meetings. When employees find out there’s a meeting coming up, they perceive it as something scary. They will have several questions that trigger anxiety:
Will I have to speak up? I’m not ready.
What’s this meeting about? What if I don’t know how to answer the team leader’s questions?
Oh, but my work is not ready yet! There’s still a long way to go by the deadline. What could I possibly talk about at this point?
I have some ideas, but what if they don’t like it? Should I just keep them to myself?
Meetings can be scary. That’s why you have to get your employees used to them, so they don’t anticipate a stressful environment.
You can do that by simply explaining what the meeting is about.
“We’ll have a meeting tomorrow. Don’t worry; it’s nothing scary. I just want to get some updates on your progress. I also want to get your ideas on the next stage of the process. I’ll be sharing some plans on where we’re headed and I’d love to hear your feedback on it. This will be a casual meeting where everyone can speak up their mind. Coffee and snacks provided by the firm. I’m looking forward to seeing you all.”
You see? That kind of message will calm everyone down. They won’t be expected to be asked for reports. They will catch your calm and friendly vibe and it will spread on them.
<div id="Inform" style="margin-top: -86px; padding-top: 86px;"><strong>3. Inform Them on Time</strong></div>
“Okay people, we’re having an important meeting today! Get ready and meet me in the office in two hours. The meeting is at 2PM.”
Well, that’s a good way to scare everyone off. You’ll create stressful anticipation of something really important. The members of your team will feel like they are not prepared enough, and the stress levels will get higher as the hour of the meeting gets closer.
Hourly employees plan their time very carefully so they will be able to fit both work and family responsibilities into their schedule. An unannounced meeting causes a mess in their plans. Plus, they will be wondering what they did wrong and they won’t expect a positive meeting environment when you make the event such an urgent thing.
You don’t want a stressful environment! When you’re planning an important meeting, it’s important to prepare the attendees for it. You should give them a clear idea of what you’ll discuss so they can prepare their ideas.
Be relaxed and don’t impose the vibe of something extremely important happening. It’s just a relaxing meeting, where everyone will get a chance to discuss their ideas.
Find a way to communicate a meeting efficiently. Consider using a communication platform that everyone can view and reply to. Deputy makes it easy for managers to communicate and see their staff’s availability. By implementing an employee management software, your employees will be empowered and in control of their schedules. Interested in learning more? Sign up for a free 30-day trial below and see how Deputy can transform your business operations.
<div id="Agenda" style="margin-top: -86px; padding-top: 86px;"><strong>4. Have Your Agenda Ready</strong></div>
Have you ever been part of a messy meeting? The team leader couldn’t direct the discussion to a productive direction, and you all felt like you were just wasting your time. That’s because the team leader failed to prepare an agenda.
An effective meeting requires a framework, which will help you maintain everyone’s focus. Plan what issues you’ll discuss and how much time you’ll devote to each of them. Don’t forget to include this meeting agenda in the notification about the meeting so everyone will get a chance to prepare well.
If, for example, you expect people’s ideas on a specific matter and you plan to devote one hour of the meeting to this point, your employees will appreciate the chance to get ready beforehand. They will come to the office with notes, so you won’t waste time explaining what kind of ideas you want and giving them time to think.
If you need to explain something new to the team members, prepare a presentation.
An effective presentation will spice things up! If you don’t have time for it, the writers from AustralianEssays can definitely help. If you do have time to complete the presentation, use an attractive, but sleek theme and capture all main points you plan to cover.
Ask for everyone’s input on the agenda before the meeting occurs. The team members should be able to contribute towards this plan, so you’ll consider all ideas.
<div id="Fun" style="margin-top: -86px; padding-top: 86px;"><strong>5. Include Something Fun</strong></div>
Organize one perfect meeting that’s fun for all team members, and you’ll eliminate their negative expectations for such events once and for all.
The meeting should never be boring. Even when you’re doing your best to create a great presentation and invite everyone to speak, you don’t want to get your team used to the same scheme.
Spice up your meetings with something unexpected. Here are few suggestions you might like:
Watch a TED talk related to the agenda;
Invite an influencer to give a speech;
Organize a cocktail or brunch after the meeting;
Organize a brainstorming session supported by a tool like MindMeister;
Take them to the coolest new restaurant in town after the meeting;
Engage them in an unexpected team building activity.
Of course, your meetings need structure. The agenda will give you that. However, spicing things up with different activities for each meeting will create a positive attitude towards these events.
Remember: the meeting is not only about giving and getting feedback. It’s not only about strict professionalism. It’s also about building team spirit and encouraging your staff to get to know each other. You’ll achieve that goal only if you introduce a fun element into the process. Don’t worry; you don’t have to sacrifice professionalism for the sake of fun. There’s room for everything in a team meeting.
<div id="Flexibility" style="margin-top: -86px; padding-top: 86px;"><strong>6. Allow Space for Flexibility</strong></div>
If your agenda is too strict, when will you allow creativity to happen? If, for example, you expect to give a presentation for twenty minutes, have a discussion for twenty minutes after that, and get suggestions for twenty minutes before the end, you’re providing a very strict schedule.
But what if the discussion takes longer than usual? What if your team members get heated up about a certain issue and they start discussing in length? You cannot cut them off right in the middle; you want those issues solved in the best way possible and you need to give them time to express themselves.
You should leave some “white space” in your agenda. That’s the space that allows spontaneous engagement to occur.
Some of the issues you plan to discuss may awaken the creativity of your team. Some of the attendees might have brilliant ideas to share, and they will spark a great discussion during the meeting.
If your agenda is too tight, it won’t leave any space for creative engagement. So leave at least half an hour of “white space” and be flexible if the team doesn’t want to follow the agenda step by step.
<div id="Drama" style="margin-top: -86px; padding-top: 86px;"><strong>7. Be Prepared to Deal with Drama</strong></div>
Have you noticed there’s negative energy between some members of the team? Sparks fly when they are together in a room! That often happens in the office environment, and it even happens with hourly workers who meet each other for the first time. If there are two dominant personalities in the room, they might clash. If there are two or more very opposing points of view, the discussion might get out of hand.
Even if everyone likes everyone, there are some issues that drive people to heated discussions.
Whatever the case is, you have to be prepared for drama at all times. If a conflict occurs during the meeting, you’ll be the mediator. It’s important to come down to a quick and effective resolution, so the event can proceed as smoothly as possible.
First of all, you need to stay optimistic. Do not try to lecture anyone. Just give them the space they need to express themselves, but act with questions and comments whenever you want to calm them down. Do not take sides. During a meeting, everyone should feel free to speak up, but they don’t want to position themselves against the manager. Just listen to all sides, appreciate their input and share your decision in the most neutral way possible.
When you see a problem in someone’s point of view, address the problem without attacking the person.
<div id="Engage" style="margin-top: -86px; padding-top: 86px;"><strong>8. Plan to Engage All Participants</strong></div>
Each team consists of diverse personalities.
Some of its members may be too active. They are always after the spotlight and leave no space for others to shine. They will be the dominant people in the meeting and they will overwhelm the introverted personalities. That doesn’t mean that they are the only ones with something important to say, though.
Others are withdrawn and stay quiet throughout the entire meeting, even when they have great things to say. Maybe they are in this environment for the first time. Maybe they have social anxiety and they struggle whenever they are supposed to speak in front of an audience.
As a team leader, you have a responsibility to create a nice communication flow and engage everyone. Make sure that each team member gets the deserved attention, and don’t allow the dominant personalities to take over.
You’ll do that by triggering a calm conversation that’s not too formal. When you notice someone taking the spotlight, ask the others what they think about those ideas.
Preparation Is Key to Perfection
Do you know why some managers don’t like to plan their meetings? They believe that preparation kills the spontaneous engagement. They are wrong!
Proper planning always leaves some space for flexibility, but it also provides the structure that each meeting needs. Plus, it helps you prepare yourself and the entire team for the event.
Hopefully, the tips above will help you plan the perfect meeting. Such an event will change the entire team’s perception towards meetings!
Deputy Can Help
Creating a work atmosphere that is open and flexible can be difficult. It’s critical to give your staff an easy way to stay informed, share important messages, and contribute to the workplace conversation. Deputy’s leading workforce management software is used across the globe to schedule, track time, and communicate with employees wherever they are.
To learn more about how Deputy is helping organizations improve their internal communication, try out a free 30-day trial of our product by booking a live demo below.