Team meetings aren’t always successful at conveying information in a timely and useful manner. Many attendees often feel that they cover points they already knew about or meander off the point too much. When they’ve got a busy day ahead, a 30-minute morning meeting sets them behind before they’ve barely gotten started.

To make team meetings better, here are 6 things to improve them.

1.      Use Agendas

It’s imperative to always have an agenda for each safety meeting. However, this rule equally applies to other types of meetings too.

While you may have a list in your head of the things to talk about, under the bright lights and pressure of everyone looking at you, it’s easy to forget them. Calling a second meeting a day later to cover what you forget just makes you look disorganized.

Use an agenda both to ensure everything gets covered but also to stick mainly to the planned talking points. Distribute it ahead of the meeting to let people collect their thoughts.

2.      Steer Discussions Away from Off-topic Matters

When covering a certain point in a meeting based on the agenda, it’s easy for the discussion to veer off-topic to matters only of concern to a single employee.

It’s necessary to step in and steer the conversation back to the talking points and/or move onto the next point on the agenda. Where appropriate, ask the person to meet with you to discuss their concerns one-on-one, rather than in a group setting.

3.      Avoid Finger Pointing Sessions

Meetings shouldn’t be used to scold an employee in front of the other attendees. Any complaints about making a mistake or other performance issues should be discussed confidentially.

While you may cover points that emphasized the need for greater attention to detail or fewer mistakes, control the meeting so that people don’t start vocally pointing fingers. Ensure the meeting is constructive, not accusatory. Be aware of it to avoid this from happening.

4.      Allow All People to Participate

Depending on how much discussion is expected from the participants, make it a point to solicit opinions or feedback from as many people as possible.

Look out for the one or two people who overshare or dominate the discussion every time. Ensure the people who usually get to speak the least can get their points across. Be firm with anyone who tries to take over the discussion or use up the time just for them (that’s what private meetings or email are for).

5.      Set a Time Limit

Setting a time limit allows you to prevent meetings from running over.

Allocate time to each point on the agenda. Use a watch or smartphone app to time the meeting, so you can glance down it and mentally prepare to move onto the next point to fit everything in.

Push talking points that it becomes clear need further review or discussion to the next meeting, to ensure all points get covered.

6.      Begin on-Time

Make it a point to begin every meeting on time.

Also, draw attention to anyone who is tardy. Make it enough of a point that they’ll think twice about arriving late for another meeting.

Even for video conference calls for remote workers, if they cannot connect to the call via their laptop and broadband connection, they can try their smartphone and 4G LTE connection instead. Ensure employees have multiple ways already set up to avoid missing important meetings.

Also, record meetings and make them available for playback for those who cannot attend but still require the information.

There are many ways to improve team meetings to get more out of them. When well-managed, they start and finish on time with information passed along and where appropriate, the next actions being decided at their conclusion.