To improve team meetings you need to focus in on what’s important to the individuals in the meeting. During my team workshops we focus in on 4 core temperament/personality styles that make up most teams, a very quick summary as it relates to meetings would be:
Action Oriented – let’s get something accomplished and move on!
Task Oriented – let’s be clear about what’s on the agenda and keep to the time plan!
Strategy Oriented – let’s find new ways to do things not cover off administrative checklists!
People Oriented – let’s make sure the meeting is productive, inclusive and builds relationships.
Each of the 4 temperaments can conform and adjust to meetings but each have a distinct priority focus. Balancing each of these different perspectives can be challenging for any meeting organizer. I suggest the following to help manage meetings and address the key areas for each temperament:
Recognize that these 4 perspectives exist and set your meeting plans accordingly – sounds like common sense but most people assume people have the same objectives/preferences for meetings as they do, but they don’t!
Make sure the meeting has a purpose, don’t just meet for the sake of meeting – time is precious, let people have the time back if the meeting isn’t required.
Decide what would make it an acceptable meeting – that becomes the core part of the agenda and allow timing to cover off the core objective you are trying to accomplish.
Decide what would make it a great meeting – thinking about that ahead of time can help you move beyond just covering off the checklist of what “must” get accomplished, and you’ll also know when you get there.
Know your audience some temperaments need the agenda ahead of time so they can process and be prepared rather than being asked to brainstorm on the spot.
Stick to the agenda and time, and if managing time is not your strong suit then engage someone on the team that does count it as their strength, as staying within time and getting your core agenda covered will go a long way to making all participants feel they have been part of a successful meeting.
Also, keep the following pet peeves in mind for each of the temperaments:
Action Oriented – long meetings that are focused on one topic.
Task Oriented – not having an agenda or having an agenda that isn’t adhered to.
Strategy Oriented – focus purely on administrative items.
People Oriented – lecture style where few speak and most listen.