How has your experience of team meetings been?  Good, bad or somewhere in between?

We have all unfortunately sat through meetings that seemed as if they would never end!

Hopefully, you have also had more positive experiences, where people came together with a common goal and left the meeting room with greater focus and motivation than ever before.

Here, I provide ten tips to enhance your team meetings ensuring that everyone is focused and pulling in the same direction.  For effective performance, all members of a team need to understand their individual roles and how when they work in collaboration with others, there is renewed focus.  This in turn will help to drive progress towards a common objective.

Try each of these out for yourself and let me know how you get on!

1. Ensure that everyone invited understands the specific objective of the meeting in advance. For example, is the purpose to gain greater clarity on a particular topic or is it to reach agreement on a specific course of action?

2. Don’t waste people’s time! Only those who have an interest in the topic should be invited to the meeting.

3. Try to keep the number of participants small and avoid meetings that are too long in duration. A well-focused ten-minute meeting will always be more effective than a poorly managed hour long exercise in boredom.

4. Make sure that the required technology is available and set up ready to go.  Disorganisation is a drain on every ones’ time and shows a lack of respect for those that have made an effort to attend the meeting.

5. Set the ground rules from the outset. Mobile phones are turned off or on flight mode; participants should turn up on time and be truly present.

6. Everyone should be encouraged and facilitated to contribute. Rotate responsibilities in terms of chair etc.

7. Respectful questioning should be actively encouraged and welcomed.  This challenges everyone to raise standards and prevents groupthink.

8. Initial ideas should be built upon and enhanced or eliminated. Ideas once shared belong to the group and are not exclusively ‘owned’ by individuals.

9. All meetings should be action orientated. Participants should be absolutely clear on their individual and collective responsibilities and timeframes by the end of the meeting.  What is everyone’s understanding of success?

10. Finally, gather regular feedback in terms of staff satisfaction with meetings. Is the time being well spent? Do participants feel that meetings are rewarding experiences? What might be done differently to enhance performance in this area?

Joe McDonald is a qualified, experienced professional coach and trainer with international experience. He works with individuals, teams and organisations that like him, are passionate about performance. For more information please email or check out to see options such as one to one coaching, team workshops & online courses.