Business development 6 March 2017

Four strategies for small team meetings that will make more of your time

Business owners should ensure everyone who attends meetings gets the chance to have their say?
Is the return on investment of your time spent in meetings as a business owner high or low? Here, behavioural analystally Yates provides four tips to make small team meetings more productive.

As a small business owner, how much of your life is spent in meetings? How often do you arrive late or leave early? Could you be doing anything else with your time?

Meetings have become the scourge of the working day, taking up too much time and often failing to achieve anything. Your body may be in the room but your brain is frequently elsewhere, distracted by interruptions, mobile phones, thinking of your next holiday or whether you remembered to turn the heating off before you left for work.

You kid yourself that you’re paying attention, even though you know the brain is incapable of multi-tasking. It is little wonder most people switch off, and little wonder small team meetings often cover the same topics time and again.

Typically, small teammeetings also fail to conclude and deliver on agenda items, and over time colleagues absent themselves because they don’t perceive any value. All in all, meetings get a bad rap.

Were on a meetings merry-go-round, becoming increasingly detached from our surroundings with each rotation, with an overwhelming desire to get off in the search of something more fulfilling.

Help is at hand, with the opportunity to revolutionise the way we do small team meetings in four ways.

(1) Manage participation

Ensure everyone who attends meetings has the opportunity to have their say. After all, why are they there if theyve nothing to contribute? Use the behaviour known as bringing in? to invite contributions from those who have hitherto been silent.

Equally as important is to manage those who take the lion’s share of airtime the chatterboxes, the self-important or the plain inarticulate. Skilful use of ‘shutting out, taking the airtime from the speaker, allows you to constructively steer the conversation elsewhere.

?(2)?Ensure clarity

Too much time in meetings is spent giving information or pushing ideas and agendas. Not enough time is spent on the more skilful behaviour of asking questions.

Make that change by using the skill of testing understanding, to check out assumptions and confirm that everyone in a team is on the same page.

Summarising an accurate brief accountof everything that’s been covered in a meeting is also incredibly helpful, ensuring that everyone has a shared understanding. Summarising also effectively requires accurate listening skills.

This can be a challenge if you’re focussed on your own views. Concentrating on what others have to say and letting them know how well you have understood them pays dividends. It strengthens relationships and gives much needed clarity.?

(3) Provide structure

Well-managed meetings are like a well-planned journey. Everyone knows the destination and the stopping points along the way.

A key behaviour here is proposing procedure? suggesting how the group could work, what you will cover, who will do what and in what order. Summarising helps here too, by creating a springboard from one topic to another.

(4) Balance task and process