What do your team meetings look like as we make our start in 2021? They’re probably a lot different than they might have been at the beginning of 2020! Many of us have had to adapt to virtual settings and attempt to accomplish all of the same things we would have in an in-person meeting. Having productive meetings and meeting culture in general, is simply different than it once was.

How to Run Productive Meetings

There’s no denying meetings can be exhausting. But as the host of a team meeting there are a few things you can do to make sure meetings stay productive – even when they’re taken online.

Follow these tips for running productive meetings in 2021!

Ask Team Members to Prepare Ahead of Time

Meetings are almost always bound to be unproductive if you and your team members don’t come prepared. Sometimes it can be helpful to encourage attendees to prepare for meetings ahead of time. This could mean reading something in order to be caught up on meeting topics, or by preparing ideas and/or content they will share with the group.

This way everyone is not only on the same page, but they will be better prepared to engage in the meeting and share their thoughts. It’s also common for preparation to mean for shorter meetings as there’s no time wasted getting everyone caught up on what will be discussed.

Set a Purpose and Agenda

As the leader of a team meeting it’s up to you to set the intentions behind the meeting. What is your envisioned outcome and what would you like to see be accomplished? Once you have established what you want to get out of your meeting you can set an agenda to help meet your intentions.

Setting an agenda is especially important for virtual meetings. It helps remote team members to focus on important items.

Put your most essential items at the beginning of the meeting in order to check them off right away. You won’t feel as rushed at the end of the meeting to fit the important things in.

Make Sure Everyone Has a Chance to Be Heard

You and your team members will both get more out of your meetings when they’re inclusive. As team members are encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions on certain topics they can better engage in the conversation.

Make sure everyone has easy access to your meeting if it’s virtual, and take turns speaking. Each person will feel they’re actually being heard and that they’re being productive in helping to shape the outcome of the meeting. Even if they’re joining in remotely!

It might also be helpful to boost the morale of your team members. Doing so can help them feel even more encouraged. We’ve put together six ways for you to do that here.

Step Up Your Game with Technology

Even with everyone’s participation, attention spans are short. You can create productive meetings by keeping things interesting with the use of technology.

This could mean adding a poll, game or quiz into the meeting to keep attendees motivated. Not only that, technology can help to more easily collect the thoughts and opinions of team members. Major bonus for you!

Making things interactive and even incorporating a bit of fun is a great way to keep team members on their toes. It can help to keep things productive and moving forward without becoming boring or putting team members to sleep!

Change the Name of Your Meeting

A lot of people instantly associate the word ‘meeting’ with sitting, listening or being bored while having to do either of the two. By calling your meeting something else, you can set better intentions behind discussions. It can also make things more interactive.

You might try calling it something like a workshop or training session. Get creative! This will help attendees to feel the gathering will help them to actually learn something. Rather than feeling discouraged by the word ‘meeting’ right from the get go.

When team members feel excited by the idea of interaction and learning, they’re more likely to be productive in your ‘not meeting’.

5 Tips for Running Productive Meetings in 2021

Make 2021 the year of your most productive meetings

Running productive meetings in 2021 might be a bit more challenging than it was in the past, but with a few tips and tricks you’ll be well on your way to checking things off your list as a team.

Asking team members to prepare, setting an agenda, increasing meeting engagement, and even calling it something other than a meeting, are each great ways to conduct more productive meetings.

We may be forced to adjust to doing things a bit differently, but there’s a lot of power in our ability to do so!

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