How to drive useful, effective and energizing team meetings?

Managing a team is first and foremost creating a team and work culture, and such as thing can only be built through management rituals. Team meetings are one of the essential team rituals that a manager must put in place. However, this exercise, seemingly simple, is much more complicated than it seems... How to set up energizing, useful and effective team meetings?

First of all, it is interesting to note that there are many types of team meetings: daily meetings to energize the team, weekly meetings to sync, monthly meetings for more strategic topics, offsite or team seminars, etc.

In this article, we will focus on weekly and monthly meetings.

🎯 What is a team meeting for?

These meetings are privileged moments to get energized as a group and to discuss and advance team projects. It's a time to bond and make progress on team goals or OKRs.

The team meeting is the only time when all team members can hear the same thing: when leaving this meeting, everyone has the same level of information.

It's also a good time to strengthen solidarity and allow everyone to find their place in the team.

Finally, the team meeting is a place where we can learn from each other and therefore an opportunity for personal development. Good practices, original approaches and new ideas, everything is good to take.

It is also a privileged forum to feel the atmosphere in the team and see if certain people are withdrawn. The manager and team members must be attentive to others.

✅ What makes a team meeting successful?

What makes a meeting successful is meeting the objectives you set for the meeting. Goals can be to generate ideas, make decisions, build engagement. Check that these objectives are clearly defined.

It is also essential that those who leave the meeting know what they must do - individually but also in service of the team.

👉 How do you feel leaving the meeting?
👉 Do you feel more or less energized?

If you come out jaded, head down, there's a problem... If you feel good and want to participate in the next one, the meeting was a success!

One of the markers of a successful team meeting is balanced speaking time. If everyone has been able to express themselves freely, if you avoided having the floor monopolized by just one or two people, it is a sign that you were able to create a healthy and positive environment. Enabling everyone to speak out is a great way to strengthen the team.

✌️ What are the 3 elements that make a successful team meeting?

As with any meeting, the success of team meetings depends largely on the quality of the preparation.

👉 Do we have a structured agenda?
👉 Was this agenda prepared asynchronously by the different team members?

For the manager, the 1:1 meeting notes can be an interesting basis to take up; for the team members, it is important to be prepared on their topics but also on those driven by others.

The role of the meeting facilitator is key because not only is it necessary to keep the timing of a well-structured agenda but it’s also important to ensure balanced interactions between team members. The fact that everyone was able to speak and that you were able to discuss all the topics without lengthening the meeting are key elements of a successful meeting.

To drive a good team meeting, you also have to know how to vary the rhythm: provide information, generate debates or questions. Be careful to avoid information tunnels and to ensure that everyone feels free to intervene.

It is also necessary to focus only on subjects that concern everyone and avoid at all costs reporting, in turn, on individual topics!

🤓 What is the role of the manager during a team meeting?

Managers must make themselves dispensable. This meeting is not designed for them, it is a meeting that must have value for the team even in the absence of the manager.

Making oneself dispensable also means ensuring that the leader of this meeting is not necessarily the manager.

The role of managers is to transmit the right information to their team. This meeting is a good time to share information from management, share important news and why not, make more administrative reminders if necessary.

Sharing information also means listening to reactions, answering questions, clarifying what you are saying and the impact of the news for everyone.

It is up to the manager to imprint the right level of energy in team meetings. The manager's energy is transmitted very quickly to the rest of the team, positively... and negatively.

It is also important for the manager to ensure the team culture and that the conduct of the meeting reflects the values of the company: distributed speech, respect for others and everyone's point of views, etc.

☝️ What practical advice for a team meeting?

1️⃣ To ensure that everyone is concerned and involved in these meetings, it is important that they are co-constructed, that is to say to build the objectives and the structure of these meetings together. A good way for the manager to do this is to use 1:1 meetings to collect feedback from each team member:

  • Out of 10, how would you rate our team meeting?
  • What should we do to reach 10/10?

2️⃣ Have a rotating facilitator, start with a quick icebreaker, use the "parking lot" technique... There are many good practices that will help your meetings gain energy and quality.

💡 The icebreaker allows you to create a climate of trust, that of "parking lot", which consists of noting down on a real or virtual post-it a topic to revisit later, allows you to stay focused on the most important subjects.

3️⃣ With the emergence of hybrid work, it is essential to offer good material conditions to make these meetings successful. It is far from being anecdotal!

💡 Cameras on and working for all, good quality audio are key to ensuring the meeting experience is good for in-person and remote attendees alike.

In conclusion, to set up team meetings that are energizing, useful and effective, it takes a little work! As always, having clear ideas about the objectives of these meetings is the first step. It is then essential to put in place the necessary means to create a meeting format and to make it evolve over time according to the feedback from the team.

To go further, you can download our team meetings guide which takes up these principles and adds a practical checklist to make sure you are moving in the right direction! Download the Popwork Team Meetings Guide here 👇

This article was written jointly by Quentin Demeestère, Ludovic girodon and Louis Vareille.