Conducting More Effective Staff Meetings

December 27, 2021
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Couldn’t this have been an email? We hear this all the time from employees after sitting through yet another grueling staff meeting. Both employers and employees can tell when a meeting is ineffective. People are disengaged, they check their devices constantly and stare daggers at the clock as if willing it to tick faster. If you want to have more effective staff meetings, the two most important items to consider are time and preparedness. These go hand in hand, but are worth considering separately to learn how to conduct an effective meeting. 

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Time 

When planning for a meeting, it is crucial to be both punctual and respectful of your employees’ time. What this means is that everyone shows up on time and the meeting ends on time or early. When you hire a new employee, explain to them that punctuality is an important part of making meetings run smoothly, and communicate what the consequences will be for arriving late. If an employee does arrive late, ensure it is acknowledged so that they know you mean business. 

Respecting the time of your employees will encourage them to both take punctuality seriously and stay engaged in the meeting. Prior to the meeting, communicate the start and end time of the meeting. Do whatever you need to do to stay within these times. Starting a timer or setting an alarm on a device can be effective. If the meeting starts getting to the end time and you are not finished with the agenda, you have two options. You can schedule another meeting or send the rest in an email. Do not ask your employees on the spot if they can stay late. This will make them feel obligated and they will start watching the clock for how many minutes you are going to keep them. 

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Preparedness 

Your meetings can be set up in one of two ways, either they are regularly scheduled meetings, such as weekly, quarterly, etc. or they are as-needed meetings. The regularly scheduled meetings are the best way to respect your employees’ schedules and time, but they are not always possible depending on your organization. Either way, prior to the meeting you need to prepare. If you have regularly scheduled meetings, create an agenda template and begin updating it after the most recent meeting. This will allow you to remember items as they occur throughout the time period and it will be easier to send it out prior to the meeting later. 

When you distribute your agenda, you may ask for feedback or not. If you ask for feedback, like items your employees may want to discuss, be sure to send it out a few days in advance so you have time to consider the items and possibly clarify them individually with employees. 

Including employees on the agenda can be a great way for them to stay engaged. For example, maybe you rotate presenting relevant information by employee or department. This takes the pressure off of you to lead every meeting and gives some responsibility to your employees. People learn best from their peers, and your organization is no exception. 

On the day of the meeting, you need to go through your agenda exactly as it appears. It can be effective to even assign time allotments for each item to stick to that time frame. Your employees will appreciate being able to follow along with the agenda, and they may even stay more engaged throughout the meeting. 

The most important aspect of conducting an effective meeting is canceling the meeting if it is unnecessary. You do not want your employees wondering why they are sitting through another meeting that could have been an email. 


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