Whether we like team meetings or simply tolerate them, they are integral to any business. According to the latest meeting statistics in 2022, on average, employees attend between 11 and 15 meetings per week, which is around 20 hours.
If your company’s approach to team meetings has become stale or the purpose has been lost over time, it may result in disengaged, unproductive, and even frustrated employees. Since there’s no denying the importance of team meetings – when done efficiently – let’s explore the true purpose of a team meeting and how to run it well.
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What is the purpose of a team meeting?
A team meeting is a scheduled time for a group or organization members to communicate and collaborate on shared goals. There are a few purposes to team meetings, including:
- Aligning on information
A survey by Fierce found “more than 97% of employees surveyed believe the lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of any given task or project.” Team meetings are excellent opportunities to share information, improve communication, and get everyone on the same page.
Although team members likely share documents and emails and may even chat with one another throughout the workday, vital information can get lost or misunderstood. Employees can have open discussions and ask for clarity if something isn’t fully understood by coming together face-to-face, whether in person or over a video call. However, you should not fall into the ‘this meeting could have been an email’ trap.
- Fostering team morale
Regular team meetings allow employees to connect and receive support when needed. By getting the team together regularly, you’ll create a more positive work culture and a safe space where everyone can communicate openly, share ideas, and get to know one another. This helps develop a better sense of belonging and increases team morale, which, in turn, increases team productivity.
- Providing space for feedback and recognition
Managers can also use this time to recognize employees for their work, provide feedback, and problem-solve together. Employee recognition, when done well, can have a significant impact on productivity alone. According to this report, employees who receive regular recognition are 4x as likely to be actively engaged at work and 5x as likely to feel connected to their workplace culture. Engaged employees are more productive, work better, and have fewer absences.
How often should you hold a team meeting?
The meeting frequency depends on several factors, such as the size of your team, the usage of asynchronous communication tools, and how closely team members are required to work together on shared goals.
“Going longer than two weeks between meetings, I see the team get disconnected.”
— Damon Schecter, CEO of Shipwire
For the majority of teams, the sweet spot is to meet every week. Too much time between meetings can result in team members straying off course or losing momentum. Yet meeting too often takes valuable time away from individual work and can leave team members feeling burnt out, while providing little to no benefit.
You may adopt a weekly meeting schedule, and over time, it will become easier to identify how often your team should get together based on employee feedback and whether or not you are seeing success or strain when it comes to meeting team goals.
What to consider when arranging a team meeting?
According to a survey by Korn Ferry, around 6% of workers feel they spend more than 10 hours per week attending unproductive meetings, and 34% say they waste between two and five hours weekly.
To help ensure your team gets the most out of your meeting, consider the following before hitting send on your next meeting invite.
Before gathering the team, make sure there is a purpose for the meeting that is clear to all. Understanding why you’re connecting as a team will help you stay on topic and use the time wisely.
Not everyone on your team will need to attend every team meeting. By first understanding what the purpose of the meeting is, you should be able to figure out who from the team needs to be in attendance, who’s optional to be there, and who doesn’t need to be there at all. It will save employees’ time and helps cancel unnecessary follow-ups by ensuring the people who need to be there are available.
With so many companies now offering the option to work remotely, considering whether or not it’s best to meet on-site in person or virtually is a must. Before deciding on the format, consider the nature of the meeting. For example, for a task-based meeting that is more regimental, a virtual meeting works fine. For something more complicated or requires real-time team collaboration and discussion, meeting in person will be easier.
When you schedule a meeting can impact how engaged your team meeting will be. Many employees dislike having meetings first thing in the morning; instead, allow your team some time to settle in, check their emails, and finish their coffee.
The end of the day should also be avoided when scheduling team meetings since most employees will want that time to wrap up whatever they’re working on and look forward to clocking out for the day. Therefore, the best meeting times are usually between 10-11:30 a.m. or 2-3:30 p.m. (assuming the office hours are between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.).
The day of the week is an important factor as well. Mondays and Fridays are the worst days to book meetings since that’s when employee availability and attention are at their lowest.
7 Pro tips to run effective team meetings
Understanding why team meetings are important is a good start, but getting the most out of team meetings requires a bit more. Here are a few tips on how to run effective team meetings.
1. Define the meeting goal
As for any meeting, you have to define the goal of your team meeting before you do anything else. Even if it’s a typical weekly team meeting, every week still needs a specific meeting goal. Having a clear goal will keep the discussion on track and ensure you reach the expected outcomes from the meeting.
2. Develop a meeting agenda
Shockingly, one study found only 37% of meetings in the U.S. use agendas, even though using an agenda can decrease the meeting time by up to 80%.
A meeting agenda is an outline of a meeting prepared by the meeting organizer. An effective meeting agenda should include five main sections:
- meeting name, time, and location
- the meeting goal
- agenda topics
- supporting documents and links
- action items
When prepared ahead of time, it can be sent out to invitees to let them know what to expect in the upcoming meeting, helping them to prepare ahead of time and save everyone time.
3. Encourage open communication
Although it’s best if team meetings are organized and facilitated by a designated person, it’s an excellent opportunity to hear from other team members. You can invite fellow employees to openly communicate discussion topics, offer their suggestions, share important updates, or ask questions each week. Seeking the opinions, expertise, and input of others will only enhance your team meetings.
4. Consider the meeting duration
Just because the default meeting time tends to be for an hour, that doesn’t mean you have to stick to it. In fact, author Donna McGeorge believes meetings are most effective when they’re kept to 25 minutes. Of course, 25 minutes isn’t always enough time to accomplish the meeting goal.
When setting the meeting duration, consider the following:
- How much time is needed to accomplish the meeting goal?
- How many discussion topics are in the meeting agenda? And roughly how long will each take?
- Is there enough time included for open conversation and discussion to ensure everyone feels heard?
While it’s hard to predict exactly how much time you will need, answering these questions can give you a starting point when defining the meeting length. After hosting several meetings, you’ll be able to better gauge how much time will be needed.
5. Create action items
Action items are follow-up tasks that are created from a meeting as the discussion goes on.
The designated meeting notetaker should keep a list of these action items, who they were assigned to, and when it’s due and get them tracked.
A best practice is to organize action items in the team meeting notes that everyone have access to shortly after the meeting, thus keeping everyone accountable.
6. Follow up
After every team meeting, all attendees should receive a meeting recap that includes essential details from the meeting that they can refer back to when needed.
Meeting recaps should include the following:
- A list of items discussed, including project updates, goals or plans for the future, and any decisions made.
- Action items were created during the meeting, along with who they were assigned and their respective deadlines.
- A reminder for the next team meeting date, time, and location.
- An invitation to submit discussion topics for the next team meeting.
Once the recap has been written up as an email and proofread for spelling, grammar, and clarity, it can be sent to all team meeting attendees.
7. Learn and adapt
Don’t be afraid to shake things up each week. Far too often, teams fall into a rut with their weekly team meetings and tend to keep them the same week after week. However, for your team meeting to be as efficient as possible, it’s essential to learn what works and what doesn’t and to adapt it for the next meeting. Be open to receiving feedback from your team and trying new things.
Anxiety-free meeting experience with Huddles
Using a meeting management software like Huddles makes running a team meeting even easier. Here’s how:
- Collaborative team meeting agenda
Huddles offers several templates to help plan and guide team meetings. All team members will be able to view, add, and comment on agenda items before meetings and make preparation. You can also assign an estimated time duration to each agenda item to keep everyone on schedule.
- Meeting notepad
With Huddles, all team members can contribute to meeting notes in real-time on the integrated notepad. Meeting notes can easily download or share to your team members.
- Meeting recording and transcription
With the ability to automatically record online meetings (Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams) alongside a transcript, you can rest easy knowing all meeting details are captured. They can serve as materials for sales coaching and employee onboarding.
Team meetings are one of the most necessary tools when working on a team. When done effectively, they save time and frustration by ensuring every team member feels heard, receives support, and keeps everyone on track with their goals.
A recap of the main team meeting purposes:
- Align on information
- Boost team morale
- Increase employee engagement
- Provide space for feedback and recognition