Habits for Effective Team Meetings

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, minute-to-minute challenges at work. Taking a few of those minutes to set direction, celebrate achievements and identify the key challenges that need to be addressed can help focus and motivate your team. The tips outlined below are designed to set direction, celebrate achievements and to identify the key challenges that need to be addressed by the team. These practices can be incorporated into your existing meetings or be done as standalone events.


These are fast, information-based exchanges designed to give team members an overview of what everyone is doing for the day. Team members take up to a minute each to explain what they will be working on. This benefits the team by giving everyone an overview of what is happening and spurring ideas on how to support each other. Many teams like to incorporate this practice standing in a circle. While the standing in a circle bit may appear hokey, it serves two primary purposes:

  • It helps to keep team members’ reports brief – if you find members going on for more than a minute, it’s likely that the information is better handled with a smaller group or in a longer, more in-depth meeting. Standing up helps force us to communicate concisely – if for no other reason than it feels a little silly to have the longer conversations in a standing circle.
  • It’s more conducive to actually paying attention to each other. It is harder to “check out” in this configuration.

Feedback Meetings

This practice is designed to help build the habits that are productive and identify necessary changes that will benefit the team. Research has shown that individuals who receive regular positive recognition and praise:

  • Increase their individual productivity.
  • Are more likely to stay with their organization.
  • Receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers.

We are also much more likely to continue behaviors that result in praise than those behaviors that result in criticism. There are two parts to this practice: the praise and the “one thing.”

The Praise

Each week, spend 5-7 minutes providing uninterrupted positive feedback about each other and the experiences you have on the team. For instance: John has been doing a great job providing research data to clients, Spence has been great allowing us to handle daily client inquiry, I love my commute, that client is really great to work with, etc. This is uninterrupted, a constant flow of positive observations with no commentary, justification or caveats. Nothing is too small to share (Cindy helped me clean up in the breakroom; Meagan held the door for me when I had my hands full).

The “One Thing”

Every three weeks, team members take turns identifying the “one thing” they think should be changed to enhance team functioning. This thing should be about the task – not an individual. The team then considers each item and decides together which “one thing” should be the focus for the next three weeks. At the weekly meetings, status updates can be given and adjustments made. It is strongly suggested that the team find ways to solve the “one thing” together and see progress before choosing the next “one thing.”

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