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Make Staff Meetings More Productive

Regular staff meetings can be a great way to get everyone on the same page before another busy week begins. However, many managers feel these meetings aren't as efficient as they could be.

When properly organized and led, in person or remote meetings can be a quick and effective way to level-set with your whole team, define your goals and discuss how to overcome possible challenges. The following strategies can help make your staff meetings more productive.

Man viewing his remote video conference meeting.

Limit the Number of Invitees

Many managers include everyone in their meetings — but this isn't necessarily the best way of doing things. Studies have shown that the most constructive meetings contain between five and eight participants whose input is valuable to the matter at hand. By limiting the number of people you invite, you can ensure there's sufficient time for all attendees to participate in the discussion in a meaningful way. In addition, people are less inclined to spend time catching up and will instead focus on the main purpose of the meeting.

Define the Objective of the Meeting

Don't hold meetings simply because it's "what we do on Monday mornings." In contrast, you should only hold a meeting when you truly have something to discuss with your staff. For example, you might want to review a new product or set targets for the upcoming month. If you have a placeholder for weekly meetings, don't be afraid to cancel them if you don't have any meaningful updates.

Make a Timed Agenda and Send It Out Ahead of Time

Determine how much time you want to spend on the meeting and divide that time into segments for specific topics. For example, if you want the meeting to last 30 minutes, dedicate five minutes to a quick review of the previous week, 15 minutes to discuss new business and 10 minutes to strategize for follow-up and action items.

Include the agenda outline in the meeting invitation. If the meeting will be mostly discussion-based, ask if the attendees have any points they know in advance they'd like to talk about.

Stay on Topic

It's easy to get off topic during a meeting, but a few wasted minutes is precious time that isn't easily recovered. Remember that timed agenda you created? During the meeting, ask someone to help make sure you stay within the allocated amount of time for each agenda item. When you notice people are straying from the matter at hand, ask them to return to the purpose of the meeting. In addition, keep the discussion focused on facts — not opinions.

Work Consistently Toward an Outcome

Guide the conversation toward an outcome. Make sure that everyone who needs to be heard has the opportunity to speak about the topic. If there are employees who are shy and unlikely to volunteer their opinion, invite them to speak. Encourage discussion on points that need to be clarified and decided. Don't be afraid to table certain questions for later. Some discussion points can be researched more after the meeting or followed-up on in an email.

Be the Last to Speak

As the manager or business owner, it's wise to let all of your employees speak before you offer your input. This helps make sure that other people don't allow their opinions to be influenced by yours, and helps you get a more unbiased, comprehensive set of perspectives.

Executing these strategies might take a little getting used to — for both you and your staff. But once everyone understands the reasons behind them, your meetings can become more efficient, helping to benefit your overall business.

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