Team meetings can be the most impactful and important part of the week. It’s a time to document progress and identify action items—or so it should be.
Running ineffective meetings can not only derail progress and affect efficiency, but it can also be a large time suck for everyone involved. Managing successful meetings takes more than a simple agenda and regular time set.
Below, three remodelers share their insights into running impactful meetings:
1. Mark Richardson: Right-Time Your Meetings
“I often ask leaders or sales coaches, ‘How much of your time is dedicated to leading your people or developing your team?’ This may be the most important part of their job, but the answer is often 25% to 35% of their time,” writes Richardson. “This results in a less effective outcome.”
Setting specific lengths of time for specific types of meetings can ensure better time management, as does understanding which types of meetings are fit for a set time length.
Richardson proposes these time parameters:
- 15 minutes: Maximum time it takes to update your team on where you were, are, and are going
- 30 minutes: One-on-one meetings can accomplish a lot in 30 minutes if there’s a set agenda
- 45 minutes: Coaching sessions should be robust, with the first five to 10 minutes spent on updates, the next 15 to 20 on strategy, and the remainder on development
- 60 minutes: Leadership and sales meetings should go deep and spend time on the now and the future
2. Diana Pauro: Use Visuals, Ice Breakers, and a Timer
For larger meetings requiring some wrangling of team members, visuals are key in maintaining everybody’s attention, especially when discussing topics with many elements. For example, Diana Pauro, founder of Rebel Builders, hosts quarterly process review meetings. These require every team member to be present and analyze a project’s process from start to finish.
To ensure each member can wrap their head around which part of the process they’re discussing, Pauro prints out a 10-foot-long visual of the process. Then, they add post-it notes to specific areas needing further discussion or changes.
While that’s ongoing on a wall of the office, an agenda is pasted up on a screen for all meeting attendees to know the objectives and topics of the meeting.
And to ensure each team member contributes openly, Pauro starts the quarterly meetings with a simple, quick icebreaker.
“I do love to do rounds of wins and challenges and we had so it's always good to break a little bit and open up a little bit of vulnerability when we're talking,” says Pauro.
Pauro’s last secret to successful company-wide meetings? Using a designated timer person for each section of the agenda. If conversations run long, they could best be addressed in a different meeting or call. One team member can be in charge of running the timer.
3. Wesley Crocket: Be on Time and Record Meetings
Mahogany Builders General Manager Wesley Crocket took 90-minute meetings down to 45 minutes just by ensuring everybody was on time. “Hey, I’m running late,” messages turned into delays of 15 minutes or more sometimes, so Crocket gamified timely attendance.
“I said, ‘You're going to start this quarter with $500. You got a $500 bonus, and every time you are late for this meeting, $100 will be subtracted from that bonus, and we're going to do it quarterly,’” says Crocket. “You would be surprised how attendance changed immediately surrounding that.”
A few years back, a key employee suffered a traumatic brain injury, and that employee was the point where each project went through. To ensure that status updates and progress reports were accessible by all, Crocket began recording each meeting.
“But we had a day where we could no longer talk to the most important person in our company, and that really shook us to the core and made us instill different disciplines in different areas,” says Crocket. “That being one of them, recording all of our meetings and leaving breadcrumbs for ourselves should anything terrible happen to any of us again.”