You send a meeting invite to your team, and you can hear the groans in the air as soon as they open the email. You assume it's inevitable— everyone knows meetings are the worst. But what if you could schedule meetings and have them met with cheers instead of jeers? Is it possible to run a meeting that's so fantastic, your team will look forward to it? Good news! It is! And we're going to tell you how it's done.
Determine Your Purpose
There are a variety of types of meetings you can have with your team, and the kind of meeting you have will determine how you run it. Here's a quick rundown of the most common types of meetings you might plan, and the purpose they serve.
- Planning Meeting — That meeting you have every week to discuss the direction in which you're taking your projects can fall into this category— a sort of mini-State of the Union. Bring everyone together to talk about their progress on the projects on which they're working; it will give the team a place to talk about the issues they've encountered and share their successes.
However, be sure that you don't allow the meeting to free-flow into a three-hour odyssey... set a strict time perimeter on it, and if someone has a problem that's too big to solve within that time frame, set up a meeting that involves ONLY the people directly involved. You don't want to waste the whole team's time discussing an issue that only impacts a couple of people.
- Action Meeting — An issue has reared its head (maybe a client's unhappy with your latest offerings, or something's gone wrong with your product development), and you and your team need to go into problem-solving mode. This meeting is designed to move quickly; you don't want to spend time generating solutions, but rather discuss the ideas that everyone brings to the table. Encourage the participants to come in with their ideas, and be ready to debate them.
Be sure that everyone understands the rules of engagement. You want your team to feel free to share their ideas, but you also want to make sure that they know that they'll be expected to defend their ideas, too.
- Creative Brainstorming Meeting — The lifeblood of marketing teams, the creative brainstorming meetings are a must when you're trying to come up with fresh and interesting ideas. These meetings might run longer than the others, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't have a cap. Bring in food and drink, and let your team feel free to set their imaginations loose.
Set a Clear Agenda
We've all been to meetings that seem to have no discernible purpose and no end in sight. As you look longingly out the window, you probably wished that there was an actual, well-defined reason for calling everyone together— then, you might be able to determine how much longer you'll be stuck there.
Remember how unproductive that meeting was, and how unmotivated you felt? Any good manager knows that a motivated team will not just produce better work, but will also be more likely to stick around for awhile, too. If you're interested in keeping your team on track, waylaying them with rambling meetings isn't going to do anybody any favors. Before you call the meeting, create a detailed, step-by-step agenda for everything you want to discuss with your team. Unsure how to create an effective, straight-to-the-point agenda? Here are some helpful tips.
Stick to That Agenda
This is where it gets tricky. It's easy to write down what you want to talk about, but actually adhering to your list? That's another story. With that in mind, appoint a person to lead the meeting. Don't appoint just anyone— you need to be sure that the person is able to firmly (but kindly) redirect the group should they start to veer off the rails. You can even take turns leading the meeting, so no one feels as though they're the "bad guy" all of the time.
Additionally, make sure that you send the agenda out prior to the meeting. Your team will be more likely to be prepared for the meeting if they know what to expect, and if they come with the intention of talking about a certain issue, they're less likely to go off-topic.
Meet on the Regular
Marketing, in particular, is a collaborative field. When we don't take the time to get together and discuss things, we might missing out on some of our best ideas. Without regular meetings, our well of collaborative creativity could run dry. Whether you have a quick team huddle every morning, or a weekly meeting to discuss the projects you're working on, it's vital that you have a regular check-in to make sure everything is proceeding as scheduled.
That's not to say that your meetings need to be long. At Hudson Fusion, we tend to keep meetings as short as possible; in fact, we hold our daily meeting, or scrum, in 15 minutes You may even want to hold your meeting standing to keep everyone on target!
Remember these guidelines, and your team's response to your meeting invite won't be to frantically seek the nearest exit.
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