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Do your meetings destroy morale? Do your staff members suffer a slow “death by meeting?” Meetings, whether face-to-face or electronic, are entrenched in business culture. We feel we need to keep people informed, and solicit input, feedback and buy-in. We feel meetings build morale. But do they? Are your meetings building morale or tearing down your team?

Well-structured and well-run meetings can produce significant benefits.

  • Stakeholders are informed
  • Input and buy-in can be solicited
  • Activity can be coordinated
  • Communication can be efficient
  • Staff can be empowered and energized

On the other hand, poorly conceived meetings can be devastating.

  • Staff can be frustrated and see the meetings as a waste of time
  • Information shared can be seen as irrelevant
  • Team-building efforts can be resented
  • Leaders can be perceived as arrogant and/or clueless
  • Enthusiasm can be drained and morale suffer

Meet Smart.

So how do you create productive meetings that bolster morale?

  • Keep meetings short. There is a limit to the active attention span.
  • Start on time, end on time.
  • Invite only the individuals who need to be there. Don’t waste the time of others.
  • Distribute the agenda, backup documents and findings in advance.
  • Encourage review of items and preliminary responses before the meeting.
  • Have a timed agenda and stick to it. If an item legitimately runs over, omit another item.
  • Don’t ramble. Know the key points, and stick to them.
  • Keep discussions on topic.
  • Solicit input from all members, especially the quiet ones.
  • Don’t meet without a legitimate need.
  • Keep a record of discussions, assignments, deadlines and decisions.
  • Hold members accountable for assignments
  • Don’t expect team-building exercises to boost morale. If morale is low, forcing friendliness is not going to help.

Meetings can create buy-in, or indifference. They can be the highlight of the week, or a dreaded, resented drag on enthusiasm and morale. Keep meetings productive and relevant. Build efficiency and effectiveness. Don’t let your meetings destroy morale.