Etiquette is all about respect, and in the office, one of the biggest ways to show your respect to your colleagues (and earn their respect!) is to honor their time. Since the biggest time suck in many offices is the team meeting, we have five tips that will get the most out of team meetings so everyone walks in ready to get work done, instead of ready to tune out.
First, think about when is best to schedule a meeting. 10am may interrupt the workflow if everyone arrives at your office at 9:15am. Or if client meetings at lunch are common, then 1pm may be a tough time to schedule around. Think about what your organizational culture is when setting a time and if you still aren’t sure, studies show that 3pm is optimal for group meetings. (It helps prevent that late afternoon slump – as long as the meeting is well facilitated!)
Keep an eye on the clock. If it’s a big brainstorming work session, the event may take all afternoon but for most meetings that are focused on sharing updates, keep the conversation short and aim for under 60 minutes. Why? Most meetings get blocked off by the hour in our calendar but by ending early, you are giving your colleagues a little mental space to catch up on those emails – and they won’t start them during the meeting.
So how do you do that? Set an agenda and make it known. Lay out how much time will be spent on each topic and if during the meeting you realize a decision will take longer than scheduled, set it aside and come back to it. Then as a group you can decide how much longer to spend discussing, which will make the team feel included in the process instead held hostage by endless discussion.
At the end of the meeting, review the next steps so everyone leaves knowing what they are responsible for. Immediately after, also send out the meeting notes with a follow up of those next steps. Make sure this includes due dates so that at the start of the next meeting, you can have updates on progress.
Interested in more workplace etiquette? Here are some of our top pieces of advice.
Image originally appeared as part of our Studio Tour of Collectively in our January 2015 issue.