Top-Shelf Tip No. 178:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed. It is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead

Five Ways To Upgrade Team Meetings

In my office, we are supposed to have a weekly team meeting, but we typically meet once a month because the weekly meetings are usually cancelled. When we do have the meetings, they end up being a lengthy update from each direct report. This is so time-consuming that we don't get to discuss any top-of-mind issues.

Team meetings are critical for on-going communication and to ensure that no customer or project gets left behind. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these critical steps for effective and productive team meetings from Dan McCarthy, a leadership and management expert.

1. Have the right attitude. As a director or manager, you need to model the behavior that you want from your team. This means having a positive attitude about team meetings. Don't act like these meetings are a necessary evil. Be positive and proactive. Use the time to make decisions and achieve results, not to check off the list to show that you are in contact with your team.

2. Remember, you own the meeting. Don't delegate the agenda planning to an administrative assistant or another team member. It's your job to plan and run the meeting. Ask and answer the following question: "After this meeting, what will I want people to have learned, achieved or solved?"

3. Always prepare an agenda. The act of planning the agenda helps you focus and identify the priority topics for the meeting. Ask for input on the agenda. Although it's the manager's primary responsibility to develop the agenda, team members can be invited to contribute agenda items. Send out a call for ideas a few days before the meeting.

4. Add some variety. Here are a few things you can do to spice up your team meetings:

• Invite guest speakers

• Celebrate something

• Conduct a "learning roundtable" — have team members take turns teaching each other something

• Watch a TED Talk that's relevant to the meeting agenda

• Run a team-building activity

• Change locations (consider taking the meeting off-site)

5. Add time for spontaneity. Don't cram so many items into the agenda that you struggle to complete it. Have some time for collaboration and problem-solving. Also, leave some room at the end for spontaneous discussion. Then, if the meeting ends early, then let everyone go early.

Hey, consider discussing one of your favorite issues of PCT at your next team meeting.

Source: Dan McCarthy is an expert in leadership and management development. For over 20 years he has helped thousands of leaders and aspiring leaders improve their leadership capabilities. He took over the About.com Management site in April 2014 from John Rey, a management expert who wrote many of the articles found on the site. These tips first appeared on www.thebalance.com.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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