6 Hacks for Productive Startup Team Meetings
Ever struggled to sit through a long, boring meeting at work? Felt like your time would be better spent actually working rather than attending dull meetings?
Meetings can seem like a waste of time especially if they do not produce noticeable results. Yet up to 15% of an organization's collective time is spent on meetings.
When managed well, meetings are an effective way to get the team together and make sure everyone is on the same page. For startups, team meetings play an important role in team communication, project planning, problem solving and innovation.
Unfortunately, when not managed well, meetings can interrupt workflow and waste valuable time. A study by the Harvard Business Review showed executives can spend up to 23 hours a week in meetings. Many of which they feel are unproductive.
Well run meetings can be instrumental in keeping morale high and moving your business forward. It is time to stop wasting money and staff time on unnecessary meetings. Focus on running effective meetings that yield positive results. Here are 6 hacks to make sure team meetings are productive and provide value.
Make Sure Meetings Serve A Purpose
Meetings are necessary for teams to connect, communicate, collaborate and make team decisions. However, are multiple meetings a week or day really essential? Studies show that a lot of employees' time is spent attending meetings. This costs money in salaries and time that could be spent on other tasks.
A meeting should be justified and have a clear purpose. If it is a matter that can be resolved with an email or quick message then do so. Eliminating unnecessary meetings will free up time and add value to the meetings you do have. This encourages your team to engage more and focus during meetings when there are clear goals.
Have An Agenda
Having an overall purpose for the meeting is important but you should also have an agenda to help keep everything on track. Planning an agenda beforehand and knowing what you need to cover will help you determine the time needed and who needs to be there. Share the agenda so that everyone knows what the goals are.
Bear in mind that agendas are important but you do not need to stick exclusively to this structure. Flexibility is also important for productive meetings. Use the agenda as a basic structure to keep the overall goal in mind, but understand there may be more than one way to reach that goal.
When your team collaborate and discuss the topics on the agenda, the initial timings or presentation may change slightly. The main idea is for the meeting to produce results though. Being flexible and allowing creative input from all team members, regarding the topics can increase productivity.
Successfully leading a meeting involves keeping the discussions related to what’s important. So you avoide wasting time on irrelevant tangents. As long as you keep the meeting on track you do not necessarily have to stick rigidly to the original agenda.
Keep It Short
No one enjoys long dull meetings. It is easy to become distracted and lose focus in an unorganized meeting. Set the meeting time based on your agenda. If you can cover all you need to in half an hour then there is no need to have an hour-long meeting.
Shorter meetings will help you prioritize the time better and people are less likely to lose focus. 30-minute meetings suit many companies.
Change Up The Style And Location
There is no reason to stick to your conference room or even your office. New environments can stimulate creativity and refresh your mind. So why not hold your meeting in a local coffee shop or outside in a park? If you want to stay in the office try using a different room to change things up.
The style of your meeting can also help increase productivity. There is no rule you have to sit down at a table. A new trend is for companies and startups to hold standing meetings. These are usually shorter in length, only 10-15 minutes.
Studies show that when standing in meetings people are more engaged. Standing meetings can lead to greater collaboration and creativity occurring in a shorter time than in the traditional seated meetings. It is a great way to have brainstorming meetings with your team.
Keep Things Offline
Many jobs involve people working on computers or with technology all day. Meetings are an opportunity to have a break from technology and interact with the rest of the team in person. This can be a welcome rest from staring at screens.
Banning technology from meetings also reduces distractions and the temptation to check emails on phones etc. It is important for everyone to be engaged. If necessary taking notes by hand is an option and this also helps you remember the key points.
Set an Example
Productive meetings require solid leadership, an agenda, and all members to be focused and engaged. By preparing the agenda and leading the meeting you can create a collaborative and productive environment. Encourage people to contribute to the meeting and listen when they do.
Set a good example by encouraging people to voice their opinions and actively listening to everyone. This will set the tone for the meeting and people will naturally follow your lead. Team members are more likely to participate if they feel their thoughts will be heard and respected. So setting standards with a good example is a simple way to encourage open communication and increase productivity.
Meetings are a necessity in many businesses. They can be especially important for startups where the team needs to communicate regularly to collaborate and make sure the business is moving in the right direction. Despite often being regarded as a waste of time, if organized and handled well, team meetings can be very beneficial for your business.
Use these 6 hacks to keep meetings timely, effective and valuable for your team. So that they can work effectively to move your business forward.