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Four ways to guarantee fast and effective team meetings

August 19, 2014 by Guest contributor

Four ways to guarantee fast and effective team meetings{{}}Although they can sound like a waste of time, effective team meetings are essential for all new (and existing) businesses if they are to reach their potential. They can help you leverage the collective intelligence in your business, as well as move the team forward cohesively.

Ideally you should have more team meetings, not fewer. This is because effective meetings lead to:

  • Broader buy-in and consensus.
  • Better understanding of complex problems and issues.
  • Better understanding of individual contributions.
  • Greater positive social obligation.

But what should you avoid if you want to ensure effective team meetings?

  1. Lack of drama (conflict). Heated arguments and demonstrations of passion, as long as they remain constructive, can generate a deeper and broader understanding of the topic.
  2. Lack of context. The type of meeting and the organisation of the meeting must be tailored to the issues being addressed.

There are four important elements that need to be implemented if you want an effective team meeting:

1 Define the purpose

Be really clear. Are you strategising or discussing operations? What do you want to get out of this meeting?  Everything stems from the purpose.

2 Create an agenda

As the leader of the meeting, you should make your agenda sharp – and make sure you stick to it.

3 Set a time limit

Keep to the purpose and agenda. Otherwise you could spend half your day in team meetings without actually getting anything productive done.

4 Limit the number of attendees

If you want meetings that will move your business forward, the right people need to be present. This will come naturally if you move through the previous steps. Once you know the purpose and agenda for your meeting, it becomes clear who needs to be there – and who is only going to be wasting time if they attend.

Every meeting is different and will have unique requirements, so you need to be flexible with your structure. However, these elements are common to all effective and productive team meetings.

Above all, before every team meeting, ask yourself one simple question: "What do I want my team members to achieve after this meeting?" You will be amazed at the clarity that answering that one question will bring – and what a difference that will make to the meeting and its effectiveness.

Copyright © Shweta Jhajharia 2014. Shweta is a multi- award-winning business coach and founder of The London Coaching Group.

Further reading                                                             

Ten applications to connect your home office to the world

July 05, 2010 by Emma Jones

Here are my top ten software applications that can enable you to connect your home office to customers, contacts and partners in the world beyond.

Attend meetings

Say ‘hello’ and talk business with contacts by using these online tools and services:

  • Dimdim – enables you to attend live meetings, demonstrations and webinars
  • Ketchup – enables you to share and record meeting notes
  • Pow Wow Now – free conference calling at ‘Open Access’ level. Priced packages also available
  • Skype – free and easy to use conference calls for Skype users
  • Tinychat – group video conferencing, for free
  • GoToWebinar – host a meeting of many and present to potential customers by inviting them to join you for an interactive webinar   

Manage projects  

Stay on top of projects and in touch with partners via one of these project management tools:

  • Basecamp – allows you to create projects, invite people to view them, upload files and make comments. It’s effective online project management that can be accessed from anywhere
  • GoogleDocs – share documents via Google with GoogleDocs. You can edit on the move, choose who accesses documents and share changes in real-time 
  • Glasscubes – this tool offers project management, collaboration and CRM (customer relationship management) all in one package
  • Huddle – offers simple and secure online workspaces. Huddle is hosted, so there’s no software to download and it’s free to get started

There are also technologies you can adopt to ensure your business travels with you. These include: webmail systems that enable access to your emails from anywhere; a remote desktop offering files and folders on the go; or web-based office systems such as Google Apps or Open Office, so your entire business is stored online and in easy reach. I’ll cover these in detail in a future piece. Until then, happy homeworking and connecting with the globe.

Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation the home business website and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’ and ‘Working 5 to 9 – how to start a business in your spare time’.

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