So you have decided to have a staff meeting involving all your employees (not to be confused with the daily huddle!). Rather than corralling them into a room and talking at them, spend a few moments planning a team-based staff meeting:
Know Thy Purpose. What do you want to accomplish during your staff meeting? Typically, these meetings communicate information from management, assign or clarify tasks, assess team progress, share information, prevent or solve problems, make decisions and build the team. Have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish before committing your team’s valuable time.
Prepare an Agenda. Staff meetings are prone to be informal chit chats that quickly degenerate into problem solving between just a few people. Ask your team members what topics they want to cover in the meeting. You may even want to ask the suggester to lead the discussion! After you have collected all the topics (including your own), prepare an agenda specifying the topic, leader, and expected time frame. Be realistic with your time estimates…teams usually take more time than you think!
Keep Time. Use a timekeeper to help keep everyone on schedule. The timekeeper alerts the team when time is running out (i.e., five, two and one minute to go). When time is up, renegotiate the agenda, put the discussion on the next week’s agenda or drop it. By all means, if you finish a topic early, move on! Everybody likes to end a meeting earlier than expected. (Tip: Share the wealth by giving this timekeeping task to one of your team members!)
Don’t Dominate. As the supervisor, limit your “airtime” to 50 percent (or lower). Recognize that some information must be formally communicated, provide further detail in handouts or “location pointers” such as a website, HR’s office etc. If possible, hand out pertinent information about the topics prior to the meeting.
Manage Participation. Encourage input from all the team members. A good way to set the tone for participation is to start your meeting with an “icebreaker.” Ask a simple question, such as “What’s one new thing you learned this week?” or “What do you like best about working together?” Ask people for their opinions, thoughts, and comments.
Follow Up. At the end of each meeting, close with a brief summary of assignments and due dates. Ensure that taskings and key decisions are recorded and reviewed at the next staff meeting.
Question: When do plan to schedule a team-based staff meeting?
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