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How to Run a Great Team Meeting

Even Stars Need Coaches!

Become a leader that you'd be proud to follow. Reach out today for a complimentary Wayfinders Discovery call to learn how.

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Who knows how to run a great team meeting? It’s a critical skill.

As an executive coach in Atlanta and a former law partner, I’ve been in my fair share of meetings. I’ve gone from feeling like everything was a total waste of time to feeling empowered with a proactive approach.

What about you? How many times have you left a meeting thinking, MAN, that was a waste of time???

The average executive spends 23 hours of their week in meetings, and 71% say these meetings are unproductive and inefficient. Hopefully, these tips will keep YOUR meetings from falling into that trap.

Before you ever call a meeting, you should start by defining the objective.  The easiest way to identify and shape your objective is by creating an agenda.  An agenda has the power to speed and clarify a meeting that very few people understand or harness.

Be Precise

Instead of listing “Develop Budget” as an agenda item, use “Discuss the need to reduce the operating budget by 15% and how to achieve reductions without reducing headcount.”  This level of detail allows attendees to think about the problem in advance and come armed with ideas.  Remember not to be that person. If your objective can be completed by email, you don’t need a meeting.

As an executive coach in Atlanta, if I ran all my meetings as if they were nothing more than a casual mention in an email, I would have frustrated clients.

Circulate Your Agenda

Circulate the agenda at least 24-48 hours before your next meeting. The goal is to make sure everyone has time to wrap their heads around the objective and plan accordingly.

Set a Time Contract

Set a time contract.  Everyone should know exactly when the meeting will end, and it is your job as the host to keep the meeting moving towards its objective within the time constraints.

Assign Someone to Take Notes

Appoint someone to take notes to stay on top of the objective and meeting goals. However, note-taking should always be a rotating task.  Be sure you don’t just ask the lady in the room.  Seriously.  Not cool.

Learn how to run a great meeting from an executive coach in Atlanta

Ask the Right Questions

Start every meeting with a check-in.  I like the question, “What’s going right?”  Starting a meeting with a question that asks about a high point experience, cause for celebration, or source of excitement, helps people connect positively with their work and ensures that everyone’s voice gets heard at least once.

Whether you are the host or not, go to the meeting prepared to ask open-ended questions and listen intently to the answers.  High performing teams are characterized by members who ask great questions.  If you are the host + don’t have all the answers, don’t worry.  Rich questions can spark ideas for problem-solving, solution-finding, and obstacle-hurdling.  Some great questions are:

  • Is everyone clear on their role and why they matter to this project?

  • What do we most want to happen with this project/initiative?

  • What makes it possible to do our best on this type of project?

  • What tools do you need to be successful?

  • What are your pet peeves on this project?

  • If you could wave a magic wand and make three things happen between now and the next meeting, what would they be?

  • What makes this project hard?

  • How can we think about this differently?

  • What’s on your agenda today?

Agree on the Next Steps

Before the meeting adjourns, be sure that you agree on next steps and thank the group.  I used this approach both as a lawyer and as an executive coach in Atlanta. Some prompts are:

1) Would it be helpful if…

2) I believe where we are is …

3) Our next steps are …

4) Before the next meeting, we will…

Circulate the Notes

Following the meeting, the note-taker needs to circulate the notes.  The notes should be based on the agenda, salient points discussed, all decisions reached, all actions agreed upon, and who will be undertaking the action.

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Practice Accountability

If you are the leader, be sure that you follow-up individually with the folks who are responsible for actions.  Make sure that they are clear about what their responsibilities are, what support they need to be successful, and when they should reach out if they get off-track.

Now that everyone understands what their role is and what their responsibilities are, you need to hold them accountable for following through.

Mic drop.  Everyone agrees: you CRUSHED that meeting. Now keep track of your wins to rewrite your story for success.

Even Stars Need Coaches!

Become a leader that you'd be proud to follow. Reach out today for a complimentary Wayfinders Discovery call to learn how.

Sarah-Nell Walsh

Sarah-Nell Walsh is an executive coach, former attorney, and Founder of Wayfinders, LLC. Equal parts big-hearted cheerleader and bold challenger, she works with ambitious professionals, executives, and lawyers who want to perform at the top of their game. Wayfinders has a business development coach for lawyers, a leadership coach for executives, and a transition coach for professionals. We work with all our clients to make their desired impact on their organizations, their families, and the world.

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