Think your company meetings are just a way to discuss ideas, collaborate on projects, and communicate important information with your team?
There’s no doubt that’s their primary purpose. But when you look a little deeper, it becomes clear that your company meetings say a lot about your corporate culture as well as your leadership style.
And that’s a great opportunity for you.
Let’s explore what your company meetings say about your culture, the characteristics that mark good ones, and four tips for how to lead a meeting effectively.
How Your Company Meetings Reflect Your Workplace Culture
The way you run your meetings is a reflection of the way your company operates. It showcases the characteristics of your management philosophy and priorities as a workplace.
Think about this: if your company meetings are focused, productive, and inspiring, there’s a good chance your team will take that same energy into their workday.
But if they’re disorganized, dull, scattered, and poorly scheduled, your employees may follow suit.
Your company meetings say a lot about the broader culture in your workplace. Here’s how the dots connect.
Communication and Collaboration
Good workplace communication is essential for operational success, and your company meetings help set the tone on a daily basis.
Think of them as bite-sized opportunities to streamline the communication within your business.
If your company meetings are overtaken by a few dominant employees, how will everyone else feel? If the meeting devolves into arguments, disagreements, and poor communication, how can you expect your team to head back out into the office to collaborate effectively?
When the tone of your meeting is clear, supportive, organized, and engaging, it encourages your team to take that same approach to their own tasks.
Values, Priorities, and Management Style
What employees experience in a company meeting is what they will come to expect from company leadership and management.
So, it stands to reason that your company meetings should be conducted in a way that aligns with the values and priorities of our organization.
This can be reflected through:
- Inclusion and support: Company meetings offer space for employees from diverse perspectives to speak out and share. This demonstrates whether all people are valued in the organization and if diverse ideas are celebrated. It’s essential to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and confident by supporting discussion and conveying that opinions are valued.
- Collaboration and autonomy: The way your company meeting is managed speaks to whether employees are empowered to make decisions or if decisions are made in a top-down manner. If your meetings are one-way, your team will get used to taking direction—not taking initiative. But if your company meetings focus on two-way discussion, your team will feel confident presenting new ideas and acting as intrapreneurs rather than just employees.
- Innovation and creativity: The best company meetings foster new ideas and innovative solutions—and that’s how the most meaningful results are often achieved. This sentiment extends outward from your meetings into the way your team operates on a daily basis.
Employee Engagement, Productivity, and Morale
If you know how to lead a meeting effectively, you can make a positive impact on employee engagement and productivity.
There’s nothing more cliche than the idea of a meeting that could’ve been an email—but there’s also nothing more frustrating than sitting through a meeting that you feel was a waste of your time.
So, if your team members feel that company meetings are a good use of time where important goals and outcomes are achieved, they’ll feel positive about the overall workplace experience.
Likewise, meetings that are a “waste of time” can really impact employee morale. Team members aren’t incentivized to work hard when their time isn’t honored and is instead filled with long, unimportant, or disorganized meetings that take up valuable time that could be spent completing their tasks.
4 Characteristics of ConvincingMeetings
Company meetings reflect company culture, so it’s important to take them seriously and learn how to lead a meeting effectively.
Start by recognizing the key characteristics of effective company meetings:
- Clear purpose and agenda: First of all, what’s the point of this meeting? Is it a sales kick-off meeting, a chance to disseminate new company updates, or a brainstorming session for an upcoming initiative? Without a clear purpose and agenda—including a curated list of the people who need to be there—your meeting risks being a waste of time.
- Preparation, timeliness, and time management: Respect your team members’ time by starting promptly and ending on time. This means you need to be well-prepared for the meeting and have strong time management.
- Active participation and inclusion: Effective company meetings include everyone. It’s important that all people have a voice and can actively participate in the meeting.
- Prompt decision-making and follow-up: All meetings should end with clear action items and next steps. It’s important that participants leave the meeting knowing what’s expected of them and how to move forward. This involves clear decision-making and follow-up through email or secondary meetings.
4 Common Company Meeting Pitfalls to Avoid
The same way it’s essential to understand how to lead a meeting effectively, it’s important to know the common pitfalls to avoid, too. Here are four:
- Lack of preparation of purpose: Aimless meetings without a clear purpose are a waste of time for all participants and a clear sign of company-wide disorganization. Meetings that go over time also demonstrate a lack of organization and purpose.
- Dominating leadership style or attendees: There are always people who like to speak up in meetings and others who prefer to stay silent. But when big, domineering personalities—including the leader—take up all the time and space, it creates an uncomfortable team dynamic. Further, you won’t be able to hear the amazing ideas from quieter team members unless they’re given the chance to speak up.
- Overuse of meetings: Even good meetings can be overdone. Be judicious about when to hold meetings and ensure that they are necessary.
- Lack of accountability and follow-up: The last thing you want is for people to walk away from a meeting and forget it even happened. Ensure you’re following up on determined action items so that all the valuable time and effort invested at a meeting doesn’t go to waste.
4 Tips to Lead Company Meetings Effectively
With these characteristics and pitfalls in mind, here are four key strategies for how to lead a meeting effectively.
1. Establish Meeting Guidelines and Best Practices
If you want your meetings to be well-organized, productive, and on-task, you need to set expectations from the start. Gather with your team to establish meeting guidelines and best practices for everyone to follow.
Here are some examples:
- Default meeting time frame is 45 minutes to keep them short.
- Meetings are held in the mornings only (or another time that works best for your team).
- No more than three meetings per week.
- Each meeting will have a designated minute-taker.
- Meetings start and end on time—no exceptions.
- An agenda is circulated before the meeting and employees can self-select if they need to attend.
- These are just a few ideas. Figure out what works best for your team and ensure everyone knows what to expect.
2. Create a Culture of Open Communication and Collaboration
Use your meetings to establish a cultural norm of open communication and collaboration. This means creating a space where everyone has a voice and can provide input. Here are a few ways to foster it in a meeting:
- Require a few-minute “thinking break”: If you pose a question to the group, give them a few minutes to think independently. This gives your introverts a chance to think about what to say and forces your more outgoing team members to slow down and give someone else a chance to speak.
- Encourage group or pairwork: Instead of having a large group conversation, have team members break into smaller groups and discuss amongst themselves. This gives everyone the chance to talk.
- Follow up: If someone had a great idea or made a good point, follow up with them either in the meeting or later on during an employee check-in meeting. This lets them know you were listening and value their input.
3. Leverage Technology and Tools
The environment can really impact the effectiveness of your company meetings. This relates to the physical space and the tools you use. A bookable meeting room at a coworking space is designed for productivity with a comfortable space, necessary A/V equipment, and in-house support.
Visual aids like a presentation, hand-outs, or even videos can help everyone understand and remember the content of your meeting. You can also consider leveraging collaborative tools like Mentimeter which lets you live-poll your meeting participants.
4. Continuously Seek Feedback and Improvement
The last step for how to lead a meeting effectively is to continually learn and improve. You can request feedback from meeting participants, either formally through a survey or informally in conversation. Take this feedback to heart and adjust how you run your meetings for next time.
Company meetings are an important way to accomplish tasks and projects in the workplace. But beyond sharing information, they more broadly represent your company culture. Because they are so impactful, it’s important to learn how to lead a meeting effectively with these tips and tricks.
If you’re looking for a productive workspace to support your company culture, look no further than Launch Workplaces. Contact us today and book a tour of the nearest location to you.