How to Make the Most of Your Startup’s Meetings
With many Australian startups now communicating digitally, it has never been more essential for team meetings to be both informative and constructive. Meetings can take up a large portion of both an employee and founders’ workday, so it is not abnormal for team members to exit them thinking “what a waste of time.” According to an article by Harvard Business Review a large majority of team members and management often feel “overwhelmed by their meetings” whether face-to-face or electronically mediated.
The same article cites that the length and frequency of meetings has increased exponentially over the past 50 years to the point where executives spend an average of nearly 23 hours a week in them. While meetings can be useful for connecting with team members, strategizing and communicating new developments, poorly run meetings can negatively impact team motivation and productivity. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate this. At Allied Legal, we recommend the following to keep your meetings efficient and productive:
Set A Time Frame
If unregulated, meetings can run over time. Establishing a clear meeting start and end time enables founders and employees
to be more efficient. An hour meeting, for example, forces founders to raise essential
and to plan their agendas around the timeframe. Business.com
recommends starting your meetings on the dot to discourage lateness. You can also provide a five-minute “heads up” once your meeting is
nearing its’ end.
Set Clear Goals
Forward planning will ensure that your startup’s meeting stays on track. In fact, a study by Beenote attributes a lack of preparation as the leading issue employees have with meetings. It is therefore essential to communicate a clear goal before entering your startup’s meeting. This goal should be actioned between the end of the meeting and the start of the next. Ensure that your employees know who is responsible for actioning this and hold them accountable. Setting explicit goals will give your meeting purpose and your startup’s team members will leave feeling as though they have accomplished something.
Create an Agenda
Creating an agenda is a great way to guarantee that you are covering each important topic and that you are staying within your pre-determined timeframe. According to Calendar, meetings with an agenda wrap up eight minutes earlier than those without. Agenda points should include the time of your meeting, the meeting’s participants, goals, and objectives. The agenda should be sent out to team members in advance to maximise efficiency.
Before the meeting, specify who will be running the meeting. They will oversee each agenda item and will be responsible for keeping the meeting on track if people veer off topic. Other roles may include a note taker, timekeeper, and a facilitator. After the meeting, ask the planner or note taker to send out the meeting notes. This will ensure that team members are actively listening during the meeting rather than taking notes.
Only Invite Essential Team Members
According to Jeff Bezos’ ‘pizza theory’ there are too many people in a meeting if two pizzas cannot feed them. So, keep
meeting attendees to a minimum. Only invite those completely necessary to attend, your other team members will thank you. Though fluid
communication and brainstorming can be important, smaller meetings encourage employees to participate and actively engage in the discussion.
Make Everyone Stand
According to research, sitting meetings are often much longer than standing meetings. In fact, standing meetings are beneficial for a variety of reasons. For one they boost excitement and creativity. Once restrictions have lifted, you can even try a ‘walking-meeting’ which will not only improve staff health and fitness but will get your Australian startup crew outside and moving. Business.com suggests that this process can also improve the work-life balance of your startup team members.
Need Help? Contact Us
Even though startup meetings are often viewed as tedious, they are still an important process for all Australian startups. If you would like to organise a meeting with one of our commercial lawyers, you can contact us on 03 8691 3111 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You might also like our article Early Stage Innovation Companies.