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3 Ways To Optimize Team Meetings

by Louise W. Rice
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Organizing team meetings can be stressful, particularly when trying to fit them around multiple people’s agendas. However, these are necessary to have when working with a team, as one crucial aspect of teamwork is having active conversations. Here are a couple of tips on how to optimize your team meetings to make them effective.

Ensure You Have Regular Safety Talks

Having safety talks is one of the most important things you can do if you work in an environment with other people. Many people dismiss safety talks and assume that these are only intended for people who work in roles based in factories or other visibly dangerous environments. This is not true at all; even for an office job, where you don’t think there are any immediate or obvious risks, safety talks must happen.

These talks are often referred to as ‘toolbox talks’ and are typically led by a team’s supervisor. They should be mandatory for everyone to attend, particularly if there are new employees. They can be adapted depending on where you work. It is important to remember that there’s genuine value in quick reminders, and by reminding people of safety regulations, you are potentially saving lives.

Schedule Meetings at Least a Few Days in Advance

One of the reasons why meetings often don’t work that effectively is that sometimes not everyone can attend them. The easiest way of combatting this is by planning your meetings quite far in advance, in order to give everyone enough time to arrange their schedule accordingly. If possible, one of the best ways to guarantee that everyone will come is to create an online poll between three days to a week before you intend on having the meeting, giving the option for a few different days and times. Everyone can fill this out, and then you can see when would be appropriate for most people. Before the meeting takes place, you should send everyone the poll’s final results and base the meeting time on this.

Ensure You Allow for Contributions to Be Made

As well as being able to get important messages across to your team members, the point in having meetings is also to allow time for conversations between different colleagues. Therefore, when you are planning your meetings, you must organize them to allow contributions to be made. This involves having enough time for both your messages and for discussions. If colleagues feel that they can’t ask any questions because there isn’t enough time for it during the meeting, then the meeting structure is flawed. Ideally, you should add at least twenty minutes of extra time in your meetings to account for discussion time so that conversations can happen.

If you set up a structure whereby the manager or team leader is the only person in the room speaking, this will reinforce the idea that other workers don’t have any input or say, which will be counterproductive in the long term since they will feel disregarded. It is also great to gauge everyone’s opinions – not just those who are the highest up in the company. Everyone will have a different approach, so this can result in some interesting and thought-provoking suggestions.

As well as looking more professional, having team meetings will make colleagues feel much better about their working environment. Whether you are the CEO of a company or a very new colleague, everyone should feel included in conversations. By inviting people to meetings and valuing their opinions, the workplace can become more inclusive as well as being representative of everyone working there.

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