Early on when your team is small it’s relatively simple to manage team coordination. In fact, with only two or three people scheduled meetings are often unnecessary.
However, as you grow it gets exponentially more difficult to ensure different arms of your organization -- like marketing and product teams -- are aligned without meeting overkill.
At Travefy where we’ve grown from two o 10 team members, we’ve focused significant energy on optimizing the frequency and structure of team meetings to (hopefully) ensure everyone is informed, aligned on goals and most of all meetings are productive.
From our experiences, here are five tips for effective team meetings.
1. Build a schedule with a less is more attitude.
When teams are small everyone tends to naturally be aware of everything going on and meetings can be completely ad hoc. As you grow, however, it’s good to add structure and create a strong foundation of team norms. When scheduling your team’s regular touch points, remember that meetings break up productivity and try to adopt a less is more attitude.
We simply set a minimalist schedule of a Monday morning all-hands meeting with rotating topics throughout the month (e.g., financial metrics week one, marketing data week two, etc.). Beyond that smaller functional teams can (and do) set meetings as need be.
2. Get everyone genuinely involved.
Generally speaking, meetings are boring and no one wants to simply be talked at. By contrast, the most productive meetings are those that are engaging and bring everyone into the discussion. As such, you should always strive to build genuine and organic involvement from your teammates.
For us, this has worked well with our of our rotating weekly meeting topics where we also rotate the meeting leader. As an example our Product Manager leads the product focused meeting whereas I, as CEO, lead our financial metrics meeting.
3. Remember that meetings are for discussion and not sharing data.
If data is going to be discussed at a meeting, set a team norm to share it in advance. This saves time during the meeting itself as well as ensures everyone is on the same page.
4. Tie everything back to your strategic goals.
For continuity, it’s helpful to tie all discussions back to your broader strategic goals. Those goals in many ways are the common thread across all cohorts within your company.
There are many ways to do this, but a dead simple one is to simply start your regular team meetings by posting or quickly running through those goals. This encourages your team to deep dive on short term issues while keeping your eye on the bigger picture.
5. Add some fun!
And lastly - add some fun and excitement to your meetings. Do something wacky or create a fun team norm that gives people something to look forward to.
For us we give out a weekly team award - The Travefy Team Awesome Award for Excellence in Travefication - to the team member who does something that week that truly exemplifies our team values. (And yes it comes with a monetary prize and oversized trophy).