Maybe this is an ideal and the perfect practice meeting does not exist. I certainly have been party to some pretty awful ones both as an associate and as a principal in practice.
So how can we improve this process? Practice meetings are key to practice communication and team work but when it goes wrong it can be so damaging to your business and team morale.
We help plenty of Rose and Co clients with their teamwork and within our coaching framework we will guide you with meetings but in view of a few queries we have been receiving lately I thought I would put up a few pointers to help.
- Plan your meetings, book protected time every month for them. Do not use staff time such as lunch hours or after work. Staff require down time during the day and using that time will create resentment. If you are concerned about the amount of time out then book meetings two monthly or six weekly rather than monthly.
- If you have a lot of part time staff, rotate the day of meetings to give everyone a chance to attend at least 1 in 3 meetings.
- Publish an agenda in advance and ask for other points to be added by team members if needed. There is nothing more intimidating than attending a meeting where the chair has the agenda as long as their arm but nobody else knows what is on it.
- Team meetings should be documented and all staff should have a training manual so utilise the meeting as training as well. All teams need to update items such as Fire Drill, Complaints Handling etc, annually, so make time for these items at the beginning of the meeting. This way, over a period of a year you will update all the important elements, have the staff update their own records, and be starting the meeting in a collaborative way. If you leave these elements until the end of the meeting you may not get to them!
- Encourage discussion, don’t lecture to your team. Rather than tell them how you want things to be ask them their opinions on each matter on the agenda and form some consensus. Remember everyone has an opinion and just because you don’t agree or don’t think it correct doesn’t mean they are wrong. It is their reality and it is your job to assess the situation and help to agree a consensus.
- Wherever possible, try and close each point with a decision on how to progress, record the action points and who will be responsible for the action. It is frustrating if the same points keep being covered in meetings because there is never a decision made as to how to progress.
- Keep your body language open, no crossed arms for instance just as importantly watch the tone of your voice. Keep it low and calm, this will help keep everyone else calm, and allow everyone a voice.
- At the end of the meeting you may want to summarise your action points with a reminder of who is taking each point further forward. Agree the time and place of the next meeting and thank everyone for their time and input.
- As soon as is possible post the minutes of the meeting on a staff noticeboard or email via an email group to all members of the team.
Don’t be disheartened if your first meeting doesn’t go quite to plan, with practice you will get there and once you have a team who are confident as to how a meeting should progress you may want to offer the chair to a different member of staff each time.
A great quote I read today from Richard Branson is “A workforce that connects, collaborates and delegates appropriately, is more efficient and innovative”
If you are interested in developing your leadership skills and building a business you can be proud of, then we can help you.
Contact Jan on 07968 542472 or email firstname.lastname@example.org