Staff meetings are typically either a plague to workplace productivity or an excuse for poor performance. To some people, staff meetings are a great time to balance the checkbook, write a grocery list, or beat an all-time Angry Birds score. Meetings can, however, be a time to truly connect with others, emphasize common goals, and give everyone a kick in the butt. Establishing a consistent, daily meeting may sound challenging, but if you can make it happen, you’ll reap the rewards of productivity from your team.

Why Daily Meetings Create Cohesion

The frequency of meetings is crucial to maintaining a connection between yourself (as a leader) and your staff. Staying consistent with meetings is like staying consistent with working out. If you allow yourself to go every other day, or once a week, you won’t take it as seriously. You might get in the mindset of, “We’ll just make up for it next time.” This attitude subconsciously tells your employees that the meetings aren’t a priority, and they’ll start to question the legitimacy of even having them. Ingrain daily meetings just like a lunch hour, or coffee breaks, and your employees will actually respond, rather than just suffer through them.

What Topics Should Meetings Cover?

My company, Barton Publishing, covers an array of topics in our meetings; some are pertinent to the work we’re doing, and some are introduced to simply get the ball rolling. Here are a few examples:

1. Share something you’re excited about, personally or professionally.

This jump-starts the meeting. Rather than diving into the details of our projects, we warm everyone up and get them excited about the day. This creates a positive focus and releases an energy that everyone feeds on.

2. Set a daily agenda.

A meeting is meant to be informative and help everyone understand the different projects we have going on. Outside of the meetings, each team member heads in a different direction, but their specific jobs all stem from the nucleus of the company. Going over the daily agenda allows everyone to see how the various projects work together. This triggers questions across departments, allowing for greater understanding of the overall goal.

3. Zone in on daily metrics.

The metrics of each project should be at the forefront of your staff meetings. Sometimes, small projects can be easily ignored, but by measuring the impact of each project with real numbers, you can emphasize the importance of each one, big or small. You can improve your metrics over the long run just by gauging them on a daily basis. Talking about the numbers keeps us focused on the right things, so we know what to work on first.

4. Address any concerns.

Asking, “Is anybody stuck?” helps us identify any problems. We don’t commonly resolve these problems in the meeting because they usually don’t involve the whole team. Instead, we make note of the issues so we can resolve them later on that day with the right team members.

5. Ask for prayer requests.

Most of our team shares the same faith, so we are able to connect over this. It’s a time that reminds us that we’re a family who cares about each other beyond our work.

For topics that don’t involve the whole team, we set aside time later to meet with the specific groups. The whole meeting takes about 15 minutes.

6. Show Recognition for Good Performance

Set aside time in your meeting for accolades. The rest of the workday is when your team earns their keep, so the meeting should be their time to shine. It’s important to celebrate success. Everyone loves to be told they did a good job, so if you’re leading the meeting, remember to give credit where it’s due. One goal of ours was to lower our average page-load time to improve performance for our website visitors. Our webmaster reached the goal, and we gave him props for it. I tied that goal into a bigger one – if our team hits three of five metrics before the end of the year, then we’re taking a team trip. This one will take us to Baja to ride dune buggies in the desert! The work atmosphere after these outings is full of energy, and it makes us feel like a family. Rewarding people for good work makes them want to work even harder next time.

Team meetings can be the spark that your company needs – if you run them correctly. Beginning each day with a meeting helps your team understand where each project stands, where the overall company is headed, and what everyone is contributing to the team. A group of individuals, looking out for only themselves, doesn’t hold a candle to a cohesive team working for each other. A team meeting brings everyone together, so they can collectively step back and see that they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Don’t fall victim to inefficient, time-wasting meetings. Use these techniques to make productive meetings part of your company culture. You’ll have a happy team and, most importantly, you’ll have a recipe for long-term success.