In the sea of too-many meetings, a bad weekly team meeting is like a sinking ship. Why do we do this to ourselves every week? Why do we waste our time? Why are they so boring?
A bad weekly team meeting ends up leaving people feeling deflated and unenergised.
But it doesn't have to be this way. Weekly team meetings are a really powerful tool. As with many powerful tools, misused and misapplied it ends up being a waste of time.
How can you make your next team meeting more powerful, more inspiring and more energising?
Before diving in, it's worthwhile taking a little step back and thinking about what purpose weekly team meetings serve. Weekly team meetings should be used for more complex and more interactive items. Too often however they are spent sharing information one-way. Boh-ring. Save that for e-mail or the million other tools out there that better serve that function.
Weekly team meetings should primarily be used for:
- Creating deeper connections with each other
- Collective brain-power & collaboration
- Connecting and aligning with the purpose and values
This means you can ditch a lot of your regular recurring standard agenda. It's not inspiring. There may be some items which stay fixed, but you should leave a lot more room for fluid items. Below you'll find four ways in which you can mix up your team meetings and keep them fresh. These jazzed up meetings will leave people feeling energised and inspired! And a bonus? All of these techniques work virtually or in-person.
Focus on Purpose & Values
Purpose is a huge motivator for people. Yet we spend so little time connecting the work we do with our purpose. Values are a really useful guiding light for decision making and behaviour, yet we spend so little time going beyond the 'values on a wall'. Team meetings are a great opportunity to go deeper. A simple activity is to get your shiny purpose statement and values on a wall (physical or virtual) . Give everyone 4-5 minutes to individually jot down their thoughts to questions like the following:
- Which of our values do you think we've most faithfully lived in the last month?
- Which of our values do you think we've most struggled to live in the last month?
- What stories do you have about seeing our purpose and values in action?
- How closely do you feel the work you've been doing connects to our company purpose?
Then break people into pairs/small-groups to discuss further before coming together as an extended group to go through insights and takeaways.
Run a Show & Tell
Your team are doing awesome work that you can't always be across or appreciate unless it's visible. Especially on bigger projects or if someone's workload is predominantly 'BAU', progress can become hidden in the avalanche of deliverables.
Enter the 'Show and Tell'. But instead of bringing your favourite pet lizard to a team meeting, people (either all or a rotating selection depending on team size) bring along something they are working on. This can be something that's finished, it can be a new concept/idea, it can be something that's 30% done and needs some feedback or a cool new article/research paper. Anything at all relating to that person's thinking or work. They then get 5-10 minutes to 'show and tell' and then and additional 5-10 minutes for group discussion. This is a really neat way of giving everyone air time and visibility, not just the loudest.
Solve a Problem
Every company at every maturity level and every level of success has processes and things which just don't work or are a major pain to deal with. Every single one. The good companies make time and energy to quickly prioritise and deal with these issues rather than letting them fester and grow. At a team level, using team meetings to solve real problems is a winner.
Firstly, it's handy having a shared space for people to jot down problems during the week (I like Trello, but there are many other good tools out there).
Then you can use a great process like this to select, ideate and come up with implementable actions all in the space of an hour. High-level summary of the process:
- People look through the list of problems and jot down the ones which are bugging them the most
- The group votes for which problem to focus on tackling
- A mix of individual + group time to come up with ideas to tackle the problem
- Selection of which idea to test and implement
- Action plan
This is a great way of making problem identification and problem-solving a part of your rhythm, and showcasing a commitment to continuous improvement.
Play a Board Game
I am biased, but playing games is an amazing way to spend a team meeting. Playing games and having fun increases all those good chemicals in your brain which help foster better connection and news ways of thinking. You can broadly split games you'd use in team meetings into two buckets. 'Games for pure fun' and 'games for the workplace' (which are still fun, but are designed with the workplace specifically in mind).
On the 'pure fun' side of the spectrum, party games like Codenames are really easy to play, accessible and need team collaboration to play effectively (trust me, I mistakenly once played against both my sisters and the telepathic clues they gave each other were frightening). You can also play for free online. There are great party games out there, just be careful you pick one that is appropriate for the workplace (Cards Against Humanity I'm not looking at you).
On the 'games for the workplace' side of the spectrum, something like Quinks is designed specifically for better connecting people and teams. In a short space of time playing the game helps form a deeper understanding of teammates and strengthens connections. Workplace games range from the lighter/shorter to the longer/complex. The big plus of using a workplace-specific game is that they have been designed with some very clear outcomes in mind. So you can pick and choose a game based on the outcome you want to achieve.
Your Challenge: Jazz Up Your Next Team Meeting
That's four ways, but get creative, get playful and no doubt you can think up many more. So are you up for taking the challenge and adding some spark to your next team meeting? Your team will thank you, and everyone will feel more energised, connected and left without any doubt as to the value of the weekly team meeting!
Want to make your team meetings less boring?
At In the Game we create games, tools and programs you can use to get your team feeling more connected, more energised, more aligned and ready to perform. This can be long-standing teams, newly formed teams or temporary teams. We can help your team get that spark and cutting edge! If you're interested in finding out more get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article first appeared on the In the Game blog: https://www.inthegame.com.au/post/4-ways-to-make-your-next-weekly-team-meeting-less-boring-and-more-meaningful