Holding staff meetings is an important part of running a business. It provides you with a forum in which ideas, expectations and goals can be shared. Most businesses should be striving to hold staff meetings on a somewhat regular basis; however, they can take a lot of organizing in order to ensure that you can cover everything that you want to cover during the meeting. Read on to learn more.
The Benefits of Structuring Your Staff Meetings
Hosting staff meetings have a number of benefits, however you won’t receive those benefits if the meetings aren’t structured properly. When you have put the time into organizing your meetings and deciding on your goals for them, you are far more likely to achieve said goals. You can also ensure that you have all of the resources, equipment and materials prepared for the meeting in advance. As a result, you can avoid getting off track. In addition, structuring your meetings in advance allows you to prepare an agenda that you can distribute to the attendees.
Planning a Meeting: Tips
When it comes to planning and structuring your staff meetings, there are several tips that you should bear in mind. The first thing you need to do is to produce your objectives for the meeting. What is its purpose? You need to have a goal for the meeting. It could be to share information, ask for input from the team, solve a problem, encourage collaboration, or foster a better team bond.
After you have established your objectives, you need to start working on your agenda. The agenda is essentially your plan for how you are going to ensure that your objectives for the meeting are met. It can also provide the meeting with more structure. This could mean carving out time for demonstrations, presentations, group workshops and feedback. Writing your agenda down can give you something to refer back to during the meeting to keep everything on track.
Once you have a clear idea of the purpose and an agenda, you can start to think about who needs to be in attendance. The intended purpose can often determine the guestlist. For example, if your meeting is to communicate important updates about the business, it should be a company-wide meeting. If the information is only pertinent to a certain team or department, then the meeting should only consist of them, et cetera. You should limit the guest list to the relevant parties only and those who have something to offer or gain from the meeting.
After you have decided who needs to attend the meeting, you can start to put together the materials and resources that you will need for said meeting. These should, ideally, be distributed in advance, anywhere from a few days to a week before. This can help your attendees get to grips with the materials in advance and have the time to formulate their responses. You are also then on hand to clear up any confusion or answer questions before the meeting.
The next step is to decide when to hold the meeting. This is likely to be impacted by the guestlist because, obviously, you need to find a time which works for everyone’s availability. The meeting can take place within the workplace if you have the space, or you might need to look at booking a venue. If a lot of your staff work remotely, then you can hold the meeting online using an app like Microsoft teams or a site like Zoom.
Next, if applicable, you should start to think about whether any roles need to be assigned. This will depend on the purpose of the meeting and the number of attendees. You can delegate the roles beforehand, and this can help attendees to prepare for the meeting and put together their contributions.
You also need to be putting some thought into the perhaps differing needs of your attendees. You need to make sure the meeting is accessible; this could mean providing materials or resources or considering the location of the meeting itself. How long will the meeting last? If it is going to be relatively long, then it might be worth planning in a break or two to ensure the attendees aren’t overloaded with information and begin to tune out. It is also worth thinking about the time of the meeting. If it is going to be first thing in the morning or perhaps eat into lunch, you might want to consider putting on some food for the attendees.
Finally, don’t forget to send out a reminder the day before the meeting to ensure that none of your attendees has spaced out and forgotten about the meeting. After the meeting has taken place, you should send a follow-up email. This can simply summarize what was discussed, any conclusions or solutions drawn up and reinforce the relevant talking points. You can also list any tasks delegated during the meeting and the next steps or any follow-up meetings needed.
Keeping the Meeting on Track
Meetings can go off track; your attendees can get distracted, and all too soon, the meeting comes to an end, and your goals haven’t been met, and you realize the meeting has simply been a waste of time. Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can help to keep your meetings on track. Firstly, you need to work on maintaining the focus of the attendees. You can do this by deciding on ways to redirect and structure the discussions in order to avoid distractions or diversions. This can also help to avoid the meeting overrunning.
Next, you might want to create some strategies or techniques to facilitate a discussion. This can help to switch the meeting up a little bit and drive engagement. This could be a discussion circle or any other sort of team-building exercise. They can be used to illustrate your points and increase interest. Think about your goals for the meeting and allow this to inform your choice of facilitation techniques.
You also need to remember to factor in enough time for your attendees to ask questions at the end of the meeting that can help to clarify what you have just gone over. This can also help to keep your attendees engaged during the meeting and make them less likely to interrupt if you make it clear that there will be time for questions at the end. You can also offer them the opportunity to contact you after the meeting should they think of any other questions.
Finally, you should also always make the effort to take notes during the meeting. It isn’t always realistic to take the notes yourself during the meeting because you have a lot of other things to do. Instead, you could delegate, but again, it can be difficult for them to keep up. Some people choose to use online tools to take notes for their staff meetings, like the AI notetaking program from Anchor AI, which does indeed make the process a lot easier. The notes can help you to keep track of suggestions made and tasks delegated. You can also use them to better your strategies for future meetings.
The Bottom Line
Business meetings happen for a variety of reasons, with the end goal almost always being the betterment of the business. They can help to further your business’ goals. That being said, they can also be drains on the company’s time, money, and energy if they haven’t been planned properly. Preparing for your staff meetings doesn’t have to be a challenge; use the tips above to ensure that everyone is getting the most out of them.