5 Tips for Managers on How To Hold A Great Meeting

Meetings are a vital glue of every organization’s daily operations.

They provide opportunities for discussing priorities and challenges, goal alignment, decision-making, collaboration, feedback,  check-in with the team, and ultimately, communication to propel things forward. 

As the world continues to encourage working remotely, meetings are more important now than ever. 

Despite the great potential of meetings, there’s also an opportunity cost when they are not done properly. 

A study by, reported meetings are costing companies anywhere between $43,008–$56,448 USD every year per manager.

Now, imagine the additional managers, executives, and individual contributors who also partake in several meetings each week. 

On average, people can attend anywhere between 11 to 15 meetings per week, which can consume a ton of unnecessary time if not executive properly. 

Fellow reports the following statistics:

  • 45% of execs attend 6-16 meetings per week.
  • 49% of directors attend 16-21 meetings per week.
  • Directors tend to have the highest number of meetings.
  • 31% of managers attend 16+ meetings per week.
  • 30% of individual contributors attend 5 or fewer meetings per week.

Poorly planned meetings lack a sense of direction, and as a result, can leave its development up to chance. 

A lack of clarity for the purpose, attendance value, and general preparation can also indirectly impact employee engagement, throw off employee productivity, and decrease team innovation.

For startups, which already struggle with resources such as time, finances, talent, etc., a poorly planned meeting adds to the burden of the organization.

As a result, ineffective meetings can slow down productivity and ultimately the effectiveness of teams. 

Despite all of this, when done right, meetings can be a huge boon for you to optimize your most powerful tool—communication.

Contrary to some people’s thoughts, natural socializing tendencies such as side conversations can be immensely helpful to enhance team cohesion and team success.

Meetings (especially virtual ones) can be a potential obstacle to these socializing tendencies that a team might want to engage in. 

For managers who are unsure how to properly host meetings, leadership coaching programs are a great resource to level up these important skills.

💡  Learn more about different programs on leadership training for managers and which one is best for your team.

As a manager and leader of a team, hosting effective meetings is a required skill set to help guide your team to their utmost potential. 

At its core, effective meetings come down to communication. 

Communication is one of the most essential practices we should continuously work at mastering. 

In this blog, we are going to cover tips on how you can facilitate more productive meetings, by addressing common pitfalls that could be costing your organization precious time, resources, and ultimately impact.

Let’s take a look at 5 best practices to implement for a great meeting 👇

5 Best Practices for a Great Meeting

Becoming a strong facilitator at meetings is a key role for a manager, especially as you build an empowered team.

As you shift to an empowered team with better communication, your role is to facilitate and ensure there are conversations happening and people’s ideas are heard.

With these 5 practices, your team will come out saying “I love having meetings with you." & "They are so productive.” 

Because ultimately, that’s the goal.

1. Clear Purpose 👌

Start by identifying your team’s DISC personalities.

Understanding your team’s individual personalities is crucial when defining the clear purpose or goal for the meeting as each person processes information and communicates differently.

Even for the personalities that don’t typically need extra time to chew over ideas, it can be helpful for all attendees to have that preparation done ahead of time to facilitate cohesion between one another and avoid falling into a meeting pitfall of lack of preparation.

For example, if you have a C-style member—usually the conscientious or cautious person; primarily concerned about getting things done right, aka the traditional perfectionist—they would prefer to have the agenda in advance. 

It can help them have the space to adapt to their fellow contrasting D-style personalities—typically those with the ability to challenge the status quo and think outside of the box, both of which make them great innovators—who may want to jump from ideas quicker.

If you don’t know how to incorporate DISC personalities into your manager role, you can learn more amidst a variety of must-have skills for new managers by pursuing leadership training for managers. 

👉 Consider which one is the right for you by visiting our blog on various options.

2. Prepared Agenda 📋

Prepare and collaborate on an agenda then make sure you follow through. Create a document beforehand and invite everyone to add meeting relevant bullets that they wish to discuss.

By encouraging collaboration when creating the agenda you can boost employee engagement and make room for diversity of thought, especially with the individuals who might not always voice their own thoughts. 

Sticking to the agenda will also help keep attendees engaged given they now have a trajectory of what information will be covered.

3. Psychological Safety 🗣️

Meetings are another avenue where a team’s psychological safety is tested. 

In previous blogs, we’ve covered how psychological safety involves the freedom to express oneself without fear of serious repercussions.

This also means positive conflict and debate should be allowed in order to continue to innovate, push and stretch ideas beyond the first anchoring thought. 

Great meetings with psychological safety stem from building trust within the team at an individual level. Upon coming together, individuals can contribute their voice to the goals and questions at hand.

Building psychological safety is not only crucial for hosting great meetings but also to building high-performing teams. Leadership coaching programs teach managers how to foster this important level of trust among individuals of a group.

4. Active Collaboration 🤝

Engagement that comes from collaboration increases ownership and significance in the tasks and ideas at hand. 

Remember that time the teacher asked you to help with a task at school? You probably felt a personal connection to the project afterwards. The same concept can be applied to meetings.

To take it a step further, you may also choose to rotate roles in a meeting where each team member has a chance to lead meetings, take meeting minutes, assist in moderation, etc. This gives a good low-stakes practice to engage and develop your own culture of leadership in your organization.

In meetings, you can also increase collaboration levels by introducing a singular source of truth document for meeting notes where everyone can reference and interpret the information. This will also ensure that everyone is in alignment and have a chance to correct if necessary vs. if they were to take their own personally interpreted notes.

This allows us to address clarification earlier on in the value chain rather than building a faulty foundation on misinterpreted information.

5. Actionable Takeaways ✔️

At the end of each meeting, you should implement the following tips.

  • Ensure to dedicate time to establish and assign clear actionable takeaways and action items to create accountability.
  • Set a check-back-in timeline to follow up on the next steps’ progression.
  • Don’t forget to also highlight the key decisions that have been made. 

Together, these tips help individuals understand the decision-making mental model that occurred during the meeting and ultimately increase buy-in of tasks and employee engagement. 

Documenting, aka writing down who is in charge of what items, also ensures that these decisions don’t fall through the cracks, especially when implementing a concrete follow-up plan.

To Take Home

Overall, meetings are yet another tool that will help you hone your own communication abilities as a leader and enforce an effective work culture in your organization. 

They can serve as an excellent communication avenue between you and your team members.

Though meetings might be associated with a time to rally together to work on a common goal, don’t forget to make space to practice the less tangible tasks that facilitate effectiveness in a high-performing team. 

These are things like belonging cues, trust, vulnerability, and psychological safety. All of which quickly become the values and culture you exude in our organization.

How can you invite more of that in-between discussions of the next quarter’s budgets? 

Consistently working on these intangible, or soft concepts will ultimately help facilitate all subsequent technical discussions to proceed and invite lively debate that can stretch ideas and innovate.

👉 Check out my leadership training for managers page to learn more.

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