Let’s be honest. No one really looks forward to staff meetings.
Whether you’re having them once a day, once a week or once a month, we have a tendency to lose focus when we get employees together. Sidebar conversations can overrule, debates can go on a lot longer than expected, and we can get lost in the weeds discussing ideas.
With a little planning and discussion with your staff, you can make those meetings more focused, productive and maybe even fun. Here are a few ideas for getting started:
Determine what you want to get out of your staff meetings.
Knowing what your end goal is with every meeting is important in keeping it focused. Talk to your employees one-on-one or in small groups about what information is most valuable to them. Do they need time with coworkers to generate ideas? Do they want to learn something new? Do they need to understand what their tasks are? Establish a meeting structure that addresses these needs (and yours), and don’t veer from it.
Consider setting a time limit.
Have you ever started a staff meeting at 8:30 a.m. and then find yourself flabbergasted when you look at the clock and see it’s 11 a.m.? The worst is when you feel you’ve accomplished little in that time. After determining what your meeting goal needs to be, determine how long it should take to get you there. Set a time limit and communicate to employees that you are sticking to it. Some companies even enforce fines on the meeting organizer if it goes longer than the time limit (that money goes into a community jar for fun work activities, by the way).
Make meetings memorable.
If generating ideas is an important part of your staff meetings, add a fun task that will inspire creativity. Provide everyone with paper and colored pencils or Sharpies, allowing them to draw and doodle as they brainstorm. Also, try to vary up your meeting space and get people on their feet. Is it a beautiful day outside? If your staff is appropriately sized, go for a walk or have a meeting somewhere outdoors. The sunshine will enfuse energy and creativity into your conversation. But make sure the time limit rule still applies.
Start on a positive note.
Staff meetings can have a tendency to also become negative when ideas or processes are debated. Kick the meeting off on a positive note by having everyone offer praise to a coworker or employee who went above and beyond since the last meeting. People love to receive accolades for hard work, and it can inspire them to work even harder. Similarly, when someone pitches an idea during a staff meeting, create a rule that staff members recognize three positive things about it before discussing the negatives. That can go a long way to changing the tone of a discussion and keeping the meeting productive.