When managers assume that their meetings are spot on and have no room for improvement, they are less likely to accept or actively listen to the feedback given by team members, but the reality is that employees may not feel as though the meetings are as successful as managers claim they are. This can lead to frustrations amongst employees as feedback is disregarded or they may feel unfulfilled, unprepared and uninformed even after a supposedly good meeting. Meetings have a large impact on performance, whether they are team meetings, small group sessions or one-to-one meetings. Meetings should be an open conversation where feedback is given and received by everyone, this allows employees the chance to better their performance by being aware of what they do well and taking advantage of that, as well as knowing where their improvements are needed and what to do in order to reach that goal. Meetings are also a great place to be reinforcing company values as well as the company goals, helping employees stay on track on focus towards these things allows their performance and engagement to be focused in the right direction.
In order to look at what is needed to improve your meetings, it is ideal to first look at what the goals of these meetings are. It may vary from every organisation and will depend on the type of meeting, for example, one-to-one meetings or small groups can be more personal meetings where the individual's wellbeing is looked at in-depth, personal goals can be looked at and individual progress, whereas large team meetings may look more at the team goals and progress as a whole, perhaps discussing the company culture and large scale ideas.
It is important that every meeting has a goal so that there is at least some focus and direction to the discussion, it is possible to have multiple goals within a discussion but be sure the correct amount of time has been allowed in order to have each goal met with thorough discussion. Allowing your employees to collaborate and set the goals of meetings can be of great use to get everyone to speak up during the meeting as well as allowing them an easy way to address an issue instead of creating some possible anxiety where they get too nervous to bring it up in the meeting themselves. This is a great way to ensure psychological safety within your teams which promotes open and healthy discussions, collaborative teams show higher levels of performance and bring more revenue to organisations than those who work alone. The 7 most common goals within meetings are;
• Relationship and culture building
• Getting work done
• Sharing feedback or reviewing work
• retrospection and adjustments
Only 50% of current meeting time is used effectively, and evidence shows that remote meetings score even less, so what makes an effective meeting? An effective meeting will provide a purpose, and space for open discussion, and has a clear conclusion with a decision, a plan, pursuable ideas and a common understanding of the next steps of work. To ensure your meetings are serving the purpose of improving performance, take the time to consider, do you need a meeting? Sharing small amounts of information is easily done through emails and texts shared with employees, of course, larger announcements and workplace information has their place in a meeting, but smaller amounts of information does not always demand a meeting. Overdoing meetings can cause employees to grow a dislike for meetings, especially if they are not engaging and not always of high importance.
This flowchart is a simple way to help you determine if you should call a meeting or resort to a simple email or text.
Designing your meeting to consider noise level, lighting, and refreshments all can improve perceptions of meeting quality. Employees that are comfortable and engaged are more likely to actively listen and participate often in the meeting, these factors can also help the meeting be a more enjoyable occasion which is especially helpful if the meeting isn’t strictly formal and you’d like to encourage creativity and free-thinking as well as some informal discussions. Planning your meetings ahead is a great way to help engage your employees in the meeting, simple things such as preparing a PowerPoint can be a great way to keep the team’s focus as well as be a useful way to guide the conversation and move on to the next topic when needed without forgetting important goals and topics that need to be addressed.
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