Make Meetings Meaningful Again
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Meetings Don’t Have to Suck
For a very brief time after social distancing and quarantine began, there was hope. Hope that without being at the office, long meetings would be replaced by the emails they should have been in the first place. But then someone said, “Hey! Let’s do a Zoom conference.” And with those words, bosses everywhere crushed their employees dreams.
If you’re like me, you don’t mind working with your colleagues. In fact, collaborating with your team is pretty darn important. But all the meetings… the meetings which start out focused on fixing problems but turn into one person’s 2 hour long soap box rally… those meetings are soul-sucking, energy draining, wastes of the time which would be better spent fixing the problems and actually doing the work.
What if I told you there was a way to make your team excited about meetings? It may not happen overnight. It may take a couple of meetings before your team takes notice, but here are the steps our team has put in place to get more out of our meetings.
“Meetings can be soul-sucking, energy draining, wastes of the time.”
Have an Agenda
Going into a meeting blind is a good way to make sure that your discussion goes off the rails. Even if you don’t share what you are wanting to go over with everyone up front, having the list of topics you need to cover, along with a set time to get off the call, will keep your meaningful exchange from turning into endless rambling about your one team member’s latest health crisis or essential oil side business.
Follow Up Emails
The doors to meeting rooms often have supernatural powers that wipe the memories of half the people who walk through them. At least it can seem that way. You can eliminate the memory loss by sending a follow-up email with the highlights of the meeting shortly after the meeting. You can also use this email to expand on any points with additional thoughts. And you can make sure that the guy who is always late will know what he missed.
Start a Group Chat
Keeping the lines of communication open between meetings will keep your meetings focused and efficient. A group chat system is a great way to stay connected with your team members. Allowing them to ask questions and brainstorm digitally. And your team can focus on the topics they need to respond to.
Use Collaborative Documents
If you want your team to be on the same page, give them all the same document. It’s even better if they are all looking at the exact same digital page in a program like Google Docs or Notion. In these documents your team can comment, edit, and view the same exact content. And you can see where someone else is focused.
Nothing is more depressing than a meeting that is all work. Embracing a little humor (as long as it is fitting and appropriate) will keep your team engaged. And with working from home, your team’s attention will constantly be pulled on by their kids, their dogs, the TV, and the guy who decided to mow his lawn just after your call started.
It IS possible for your team to enjoy meetings. But the meetings have to be meaningful and enjoyable. Your mandatory collaborative sessions still have an important purpose in your daily operations, but they shouldn’t make your team want to throw themselves out the nearest window.
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