Improving Your Team Meetings

We normally find, with just a few adjustments to how the Dr. plans and runs meetings, significant improvement with team member involvement and meeting results. Here are some recommendations to help you improve your meetings.

The first step is to identify a facilitator and have a clear understanding of their role.

The facilitator’s function is to:
1. Guide the group.
2. Encourage discussion.
3. Define the agenda.
4. Ensure the agenda is followed and discussed in a productive manner while providing clarification.

The facilitator is responsible for:

• Determining the objective. This is the MOST important part of the meeting. Everything discussed during the meeting needs to focus on the objective.
• Preparing an agenda.
• Distributing the agenda at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled meeting time.
• Scheduling a start and end time. This communicates to group members how much time they are expected to commit.
• Schedule where the meeting will take place. (seems simple but if everyone’s stuff is all over the staff room, your meeting will not start on time)
• Creating visuals and/or handouts that support the information being discussed.
• Arriving at the meeting early to test the technology being used (PowerPoint, video conferencing, phone systems, etc.) before group members arrive. Don’t waste time during your meeting on who knows what about the technology you are using.
• Ending the meeting on TIME. This is a sign of professionalism and shows respect for group members’ time.
• Guiding group discussion and staying on track by sticking to the agenda.
• Creating a supportive environment to help draw information from group members and to generate new ideas. Asking questions to get everyone involved.
• Encouraging constructive discussion between group members, which is crucial for the group’s progress.
• Helping to form a cohesive and interactive team, where conflict is not discouraged and disagreeing with something brought up is considered an important way to look at a situation from all angles.
• Debriefing the meeting to analyze:
what went well
what the facilitator wants to change for future meetings
what lessons the facilitator and other group members learned to apply at
future meetings.

A PRODUCTIVE meeting will occur when ALL group members are involved. If the Dr. is always leading and facilitating the meeting it is time to mix it up and allow other team members to take on the role of facilitating the meeting.

• Rotate the role of the facilitator among group members. Instead of you taking on this role every meeting, assign this responsibility to others.
• Identify a record keeper. This will give the facilitator the opportunity to focus on their role and not get distracted by taking notes.
• Rotate the role of the record keeper.
• Ask every group member to include a topic of discussion for the agenda. The topic of discussion cannot be identical to the topic they shared at the previous meeting. This raises the expectations for group members, requiring them to come prepared and to get involved.
• Provide a summary. At the end of the meeting review the decisions that were made and the agreed-upon action steps. As a result, everyone will be clear on the next steps.
• The record keeper needs to follow up with group members within 24 hours with a summary identifying action items and due dates.

Take this challenge:
Apply at least THREE of these recommendations as you prepare for your next meeting. Take note of the results you and group members receive. You may be surprised at how many action steps are completed and how the dynamic of the group improves and how your team responds!