Poorly run meetings can be draining and waste hours of company time. Dysfunctional communication in team meetings has a negative impact on the overall performance of a business for a multitude of reasons, often because very little is accomplished, with people left feeling frustrated, demotivated or suppressed. Maybe something was said that an individual didn’t agree with, and they felt unable to challenge it; or nothing was achieved with all the time spent going around in a perpetual circle talking about the same issue; a person couldn’t make themselves heard, so feeling that their opinion didn’t matter; same old topics were back on the table from last time, unresolved; and the list goes on. Sound familiar?
The fact remains that meetings are important and can work well for everyone involved. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to improve them, making sure that the time you and your team spend together is meaningful, inclusive, creative, productive and effective.
So, before your next team meeting consider a few things:
- What the purpose of the meeting is
- Who is required and is their contribution necessary? Is it really the best use of their time?
- Define what you want to get out of the meeting
- Set an agenda, starting and finishing on time
- Understand who will be in the room, being mindful of the personalities around the table and their preferred styles of communication. What will the dynamic be like? Make sure you give the less assertive characters some airtime. Ask for respect, and don’t allow someone to talk over somebody else.
During the meeting, if you are leading the agenda, sit on the front third of your seat with your feet planted firmly on the ground – upright – to signal your full engagement and energy, communicating confidence around the table. Posture builds confidence.
A personality assessment like Everything DiSC® can also help with how you structure and run meetings. By understanding your own DiSC style and those of your co-workers will enable you to adapt your communication style and make sure that everyone feels included, heard and understood.
Consider that D-styles prefer meetings with minimal small talk, and an agenda that everyone sticks to.
Allow i-styles to flourish by giving them the opportunity to express personal opinions and have open discussions with others.
To ensure S-styles feel comfortable, provide them with your meeting’s outline or agenda in advance so they can prepare.
Remember that C-styles don’t do well with making big decisions when they feel rushed or pressured and prefer logical facts
Of course, the above is a loose guide and a DiSC profile is highly personalised to each individual.
There are plenty of ways to run better meetings and improve communication overall in your organisation; and it’s never too late to form new habits and better ways to connect with each other.