Taking time to have a meeting can be productive but it can also waste a lot of time. Time that could be spent doing something that is beneficial to all concerned rather than an hour sitting around talking in circles. If you are prepared and use meetings as a tool to boost productivity and build your team into a brilliant cohesive unit, you can work miracles.
A good team meeting helps every person in the team understand the overall aim of the group working together towards a common goal. It helps put into perspective the team members' roles and helps them to work together better. Understanding the needs of each team member is a good by-product of meetings. But the most important part of having a meeting whether it is virtual or in-person is that you are effectively combining the experience and imagination of a group of people. When you do that properly you create a more creative energy than if you were going about it alone. Many plans and decisions are improved upon when you access the expertise of a great team and it makes for an amazing workplace.
Collaboration is the key to a team working well together and making a success of your goals. When you work together well, your communication is excellent and your understanding of each other's needs and timelines is accentuated. You become a unit and that unit pulls together as a team.
Reporting is a part of understanding where you are at and how you are faring. Looking at the statistics of the group is not a waste of time but it doesn’t need to be the focus of many meetings. Unless a presentation is required it can be far more effective to send over the information a week or two before the meeting so that they can go through it and familiarize themselves beforehand. They can research their own opinions and come to the meeting with ideas and suggestions rather than throwing a bunch of information at them and expecting them to take notes, digest it and come up with earth-shattering ideas on the spot. Give them the best chance at succeeding and you all win.
As a team leader, you should aim to prepare your meeting agenda ahead of time. You might be busy with lots of things, you might have a phone ringing like crazy and emails flying into your inbox like birds coming home to roost but you have to take the time to set an agenda or the meeting could be haphazard and you will all end up floundering around and unfocused. It will be a waste of your time and the whole team's time as well. Don’t wait until a half-hour before the scheduled meeting to rush a hurried memo and send it out to your team.
Instead of simply scheduling a meeting with a start and end time make sure to break the meeting into sections. This gives you a time code your can follow and stick to. It sets key moments in a place that have to be adhered to and this gives you better productivity because you have timed subsections that can be used to focus entirely on certain agenda points. When setting your agenda, a good idea is to leave five or ten minutes in the end for questions or overflow.
A great meeting builds camaraderie and connection, and ideally solves problems and sets the group on a course of productive action. It enhances collaboration and gives a unified direction for your team. Remember to follow up on action items you have set as a team. As a team leader, it is your responsibility to get results from your team. If you set an action plan in place and don’t follow up on it then you have essentially wasted any time spent in your meeting.