It’s that time of the month again. No not that one, but it can make people just as irritable. It’s time for the monthly store meeting. According to a survey by GroupSystems 68% of staffers feel that information from the meeting is rarely put into practice if at all and at least 1/3 of the meeting is wasted on inefficiencies. Take the following steps to insure your meetings don't fall victim to these statistics.
Planning ahead is the most important step to running an effective staff meeting. By picking 1 to 3 topics and limiting the conversation to those specific areas the focus of the meeting can stay on track. Keep a suggestions book in a common staff area where employees’ voices can be heard and you can judge what areas most need to be addressed from month to month. If you find that everything is running smoothly and no major issues need examining then it is ok to skip a meeting from time to time. Saving everyone the time and energy will equal greater information retention when there’s something of significance on the agenda.
Timing your meeting is equally important. Rewarding promptness and punishing tardiness will ensure associates make it to the meeting on time. I had one job where we were awarded bonus break time for showing up early and another that required late arrivals to sing “I’m a little teapot” in front of the group complete with hand motions. In both cases there weren’t too many stragglers playing catch up 15 minutes after the meeting stated.
Another aspect of meeting timing is the flow. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the heated conversation surrounding the hot spot on the top of everyone’s list and let it monopolize the meeting. Appointing a time keeper gives someone the authority to intervene in a lengthy discussion and keep the flow going. This person can also take meeting minutes for later reference.
In the meeting you need to engage everyone. Make sure the opinionated types don’t speak for the quiet types. A “Shining Star” session allows each employee to award a star to a coworker for something big or small they may have done to help the team overall. Everyone gets a turn and almost everyone gets recognized. If not then you’ll have an insight as to who may not be fitting in or pulling their weight and you can intervene.
You can also engage employees by assigning them follow up tasks for after the meeting. Write down who is responsible for the tasks you’ve delegated. If it’s someone’s idea let them take control but set a deadline and be sure to follow up to make sure the work is complete and correct.
It’s important to end the meeting on a positive note. While a group hug might not be appropriate a silly chant or a “secret” hand shake can foster camaraderie in your work community that will bring efficiency and productivity with it.
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By Heather Fairchild - Heather is a multimedia developer, business owner, and work-from-home mom.