Maximizing the Effectiveness of Team Meetings

For many people, meetings may seem like a big waste of time. Meetings can often be unproductive and frustrating to team members if not properly executed. With proper planning, you can cut down on the number of meetings and the length of the meetings while increasing productivity.

Determine if a Meeting is Necessary
Before holding a meeting, ask yourself if the meeting is serving a purpose or if the meeting is being held out of a routine. Meetings should not be held just out of routine, every meeting should have a specific purpose to it. Daily meetings are okay as long as they are able to accomplish a purpose. If the sole purpose of the meeting is to make announcements it may be more efficient to send out an email or post it up on the bulletin board. Also, members should only attend if the meeting if it is relevant to them, not all meetings will have the need for all members to be there.

Facilitating the Meeting
If you are the meeting facilitator, to make the most out of a meeting, you should spend time planning the meeting and determining what you want to accomplish at the meeting ahead of time. Be sure to stick to your meeting goals and avoid including unrelated objectives which can distort the focus of the meeting. Preparing visuals and/or handouts will help you get your point across as well as help in keeping the attention of the audience. If you finish early it is okay to end the meeting early, but do not go past the scheduled meeting time. Don't forget to schedule time for questions, comments, or suggestions on the items that are brought up during the meeting.

Attending the Meeting
To get the most out of a meeting you should plan on arriving on time or even a few minutes before the meeting is scheduled to start. Be sure to bring a pen and something to write on to take down notes on any important topics that may pertain to you. Also be an active participant and constructively voice your opinion or ask your question at an appropriate time, and also have the courtesy to listen to the opinion of others. If there is no time during the meeting to accomodate your comments or questions, meet up with the meeting facilitator after the meeting is over and ask him/her then or get the facilitator's contact information and contact him/her later with your questions or comments later.

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