B053: How to run your team meetings effectively

By March 15, 2019The Simplifiers Podcast

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I want to talk about how to run your team meetings more effectively. No matter if you manage a few interns, a handful of virtual assistants, or you’ve got a gaggle of people who call you ‘Boss,’ today’s episode simplifies it all down for you.

I mean, there’s nothing worse than sitting in another pointless meeting where nothing seems to get accomplished. And what’s worse, is if you’re the one running the meeting, it feels like a waste of time and money (because you’re paying them to be there).

Surely there’s a better way, right? (Spoiler alert: YES. There is.)


My magic formula in how to run effective team meetings: Prep-Set-Praise

1. Prep

Whether it’s a 60 minute weekly check-in, or a 10-minute stand-up chat, always have a set agenda laid out beforehand. As the leader, you need to know what 3-4 topics you want to cover–a clear goal for the meeting.

When you do this 15-30 minutes of prep work beforehand, you start to realize if you need to call this meeting, or if it can be handled in a phone call.

Does it need to involve the team, or would it better as a 1-1 conversation with someone in particular?

And hey, maybe a meeting isn’t what’s necessary here! BOOM, you’ve saved yourself and others valuable time and unnecessary agony. Success!

So, you’ve scheduled the meeting. You’ve identified the key decision makers you need in the room. You’re well on your way.

Now, it’s time to set the agenda. Let’s take this scenario as an example… If it’s your regular weekly check-in call with your Virtual Assistant, you’ll likely have set questions you’ll want to ask them each week:

Weekly check-in call questions

  • What did you accomplish last week?
  • What’s still on the list to-do?
  • What’s the focus for this week?
  • Are we on track with our company’s overall goals?
  • If not, what’s one thing you could do this week to make steady progress?

In this particular situation, the questions roughly stay the same each and every week. Once you create the template in Google Docs, you’ve got it done. Keep this meeting to 30 to 60 minutes long, by the way.

However, if this is a one-off meeting that you need to call, I would always recommend limiting the conversation to 4 main points, so this meeting stays short, sweet and efficient:

One-off meeting questions

  • What’s the goal of this meeting?
  • Why is this important?
  • What are we going to do next and by when?
  • Who’s going to do it?

A little bit of prep work like this will help you simplify like a BOSS!

2. Set

NOW it’s time to set the meeting.

  • How long do you need?
  • Is it a video chat, or in-person meeting?
  • Is it your regularly scheduled team meeting that happens every Monday morning at 10am?
  • How urgent vs. important is the topic you need to cover?
  • What works best for everyone?

Set the meeting. Send out the calendar invites. And make sure to give all parties a brief overview of the agenda, so they come to the table well prepared.

If you need someone to report on the financials to the team, that person needs to pull together reports, and be ready to share.

If someone is reporting on effectiveness of their social media efforts from last week, they need to be able to give a 50,000 foot overview of what worked, what didn’t work and the lessons learned in a short, concise manner.

When you set the meeting, never EVER let someone (especially yourself) go in blind and unprepared. It’s a waste of time, and there’s a risk someone will feel like a space cadet and embarrassed for not coming to the table ready.

Weekly meeting – 60 minutes

When we had a massive team at The Simplifiers, and many moving parts, we regularly scheduled our all-hands (everyone attends) meeting first thing on Monday mornings. These Monday meetings would be capped at 60 minutes… any longer and you lose people’s attention. We covered:

  • The triumphs from the week prior
  • The big things that each person is working on in the week ahead
  • A review of the financials
  • A deep-dive training in one aspect of how we run our business (7-10 minute group exercise.)

Check-in meeting – 15 minutes

In addition to the weekly meeting, we’d have a 15-minute check-in meeting on Wednesdays. This covered:

  • How’s it going on that thing you’re supposed to do this week?
  • Do you need any support from me or anyone else on the team?

Stand-up meeting – 10 minutes

We’d round off the week with a 10-minute stand-up meeting, asking one question around the circle. For example, ‘What’s one big thing you’re going to finish today?’

3. Praise

Thinking back to Dr. Paul White’s episode earlier this week, this is where and how you can begin to apply the ‘5 Languages of Appreciation’ in your workplace. Now, you don’t have to go overboard here, but make sure you point out at least one thing someone has done recently that was world-class.

For example, “Hey Lyden, I really loved what you did what that graphic design project” or “Hey Suzen, thank you for hitting that major deadline on Wednesday, that really saved my butt and I appreciate it.”

As Dr. Paul mentioned, not everyone feels appreciated by words of affirmation, but once you get clear on what language of appreciation they do resonate with, make sure you’re clued in and doing it on a regular basis.

This could be:

  • A high-five
  • A small thoughtful gift
  • Spending a little 1-1 quality time together
  • Taking a task off their plate to ease the pressure

An appreciated employee or teammate is one who sticks with you long-term, and carries the torch when you’re down and out.

Bottomline, make sure the praise is genuine, the critique is constructive and the expectations of what you need them to do next are clearly defined.

And that’s it. Prep-Set-Praise

That was my secret formula to keeping my in-house team on-track, feeling supported, and getting stuff done.


And just one final whisper, just from me to you, dear friend… come in closer.

If you haven’t seen the movie Office Space in a while, carve out some time and watch it.

Not only will you chuckle at how totally, utterly dysfunctional this company is, you’ll likely have a flashback as to why you jumped off the corporate death-train and started your own business.

That’s the beauty of being your own boss. You get to decide how things go. You set the tone, the pace and get final say on what goals you go after.

And remember – you also get the opportunity to decide how you want to run your team meetings.

What type of leader are you?

  • Autocratic (do this, by this time, no discussion)
  • Democratic (I’ve got this idea, what do you think?)
  • Laissez-faire (I don’t care how you do it, just get it done by the deadline)

It’s likely you’ve got one dominant style of leading but certain approaches work best in certain situations… including how you run your team meetings.

So, create the business you want to lead. One that your team is excited to show up to and feel ownership in. One that brings you your Core Desired Feelings, like Danielle LaPorte says in The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul.

It’s all up to you.

You can do this, I believe in you.

It’s time to SIMPLIFY.

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Snap a photo of you doing the thing and send it to me via Instagram, privately or publicly… Just tag @thesimplifiers –  I’ll be your virtual accountability buddy in your quest to simplify your life.

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Thank you!

Big thanks to our undercover superheroes at The Simplifiers Podcast that help us create these episodes for you – Suzen Marie, our Podcast Editor. Jeffrey Lynn, our Video Editor. Janine Yardley, our Show Notes Editor. Lyden Yardley, our Director of Brilliance. Manminder Athwal, our Blogger. Our advisory board includes: Aubri Nowowiejski, Chris Justice and George Mills. And I’m your host, Mary Baird-Wilcock. Thank you so much for listening and telling your peeps about us.

As always friends, keep things simple.

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