Improving Your Recurring Meetings: A New Approach for the New Year
What is a Recurring Meeting, and why have them?
Recurring meetings are events that repeat regularly on your calendar, typically weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. These meetings come in various formats: one-on-one sessions, business reviews, all-hands gatherings, project assessments, team discussions, or sprint planning sessions.
Recurring meetings are scheduled with the expectation that team members will consistently need to convene and discuss specific topics. However, these ongoing meetings can carry certain risks. While they are meant to maintain accountability, ensure alignment, and drive projects forward, mismanaged recurring meetings can become unproductive and drain a team’s time and bandwidth. Therefore, effectively managing these types of meetings is essential to reduce such inefficiencies and keep participants engaged and the meeting relevant.
As we embark on a new year, we have a unique opportunity to re-evaluate our approach to meetings and explore ways to make them more engaging and productive, as they often fill our calendars and can always benefit from a fresh perspective. In this guide, we'll explore some strategies for enhancing the effectiveness of recurring meetings to ensure they contribute positively to your team's success.
Effectively managing recurring meetings is essential to keep participants engaged and the meeting relevant.
How Can Managers Make Weekly Recurring Meetings More Productive?
Define the purpose of the Meeting - and revisit it when necessary
Clarity of purpose is crucial for recurring meetings because maintaining engagement and focus over time can be challenging. Issues often arise when the meeting format remains static, or the meeting's purpose becomes redundant. Therefore, it's essential to establish a clear purpose and regularly revisit and update it - quarterly or every six months, depending on need. Additionally, scheduling an "end date" for these meetings provides a future checkpoint to assess their continued relevance, allowing for cancellations if they are no longer necessary.
Create Clear Agendas and Meeting Goals
Create a detailed agenda for each meeting to ensure productive and focused discussions. This agenda should include discussion topics, allotted time for each item, desired outcomes, a review of previous discussion points, and next steps with deliverables. Share the agenda with attendees before the meeting to encourage preparation. Appointing a note-taker or using AI note-taking tools like Otter.ai and Evernote can help capture meeting details efficiently, allowing participants to focus on the conversation.
Prioritize In-Person Meetings When Possible
Recurring meetings offer an opportunity to strengthen team culture through in-person interactions, which can improve communication and collaboration. When scheduling these meetings, choose days when the team is on-site and secure a physical meeting space accommodating in-person and virtual participation. Consider professional meeting spaces such as The Square by Hines, available in Houston, TX, Salt Lake City, UT, Washington, D.C., and Mexico City, which provide amenities conducive to productive team meetings. Companies with hybrid office policies may also benefit from meeting spaces equipped with teleconferencing and video conferencing capabilities, which The Square offers.
End Meetings with Clear Action Items
To avoid confusion about the next steps, conclude your meetings by reviewing and defining action items. These action items should specify what needs to be done next, list tasks with deadlines, and designate the responsible person. The meeting organizer should promptly share meeting notes outlining these action items, ensuring that attendees know their responsibilities before the next meeting.
To avoid confusion about the next steps, conclude your meetings by reviewing and defining action items.
Planning Recurring Meetings
- Name the meeting to reflect its frequency and purpose (e.g., "Thursday Creative Review Meeting" or "Monthly Team Meeting").
- Estimate the number of onsite attendees and secure an appropriate meeting space. Consider booking a Conference and Meeting Room Space in a coworking space easily commutable for all on-site participants.
- Configure the meeting on your team's calendars using scheduling tools such as Google Calendar, Zoom, or Outlook.
- Periodically evaluate the need for recurring meetings and consider removing them from future calendars if their goals have been achieved.
As the new year approaches, now is the time to assess whether your team's recurring meetings should continue as they are or whether they need to evolve. If the intended goals have been achieved, removing these meetings from your new calendars would be a positive way to begin the year with renewed focus. Meanwhile, with a few simple tweaks for the meetings you will continue into the new year, you can enhance the productivity and effectiveness of your recurring meetings, ensuring they contribute positively to your team's success.