One of the main responsibilities of a team leader is conducting effective meetings with your colleagues. Typically, meetings are divisive - some people love the chance to speak up, whilst others find them pointless and time consuming. It's your job as team leader to unite both camps and use your resources effectively to reach a solution. The tips below will help you to host quality meetings every time you hit the board room: 

Stay Action-oriented

As team leader, it's your job to make sure meetings stay on topic. This is easier said than done; any time employees from different departments come together, meetings can quickly descend into anarchy. Some members will vouch hard for their department's issues, while others will crumble under the pressure of speaking out. It's important that you manage this suitably - offering up the floor when necessary but also keeping certain people from dominating proceedings. 

In order to stay focused, it's critical that you prepare an agenda at least one day before the meeting. This gives you the chance to circulate it among attendees and give them time to study the plan of action. When you're making your agenda, consider the following points: 

  • You should indicate the proposed flow of the meeting and how much time you want to spend on each topic. 
  • Keep the agenda succinct and to the point. This saves time, as people will arrive well-prepared with a clear idea of how the meeting will pan out. 
  • Give people the opportunity to arrive to the meeting late or leave early if they so desire. So long as this is kept in check (i.e., doesn't interrupt proceedings). It's better to allow people to leave when their part is finished or arrive for their part in order to remain focused. 

Encourage Participation

As team leader, it is not your job to dominate meetings and become overly assertive. Rather, it is your responsibility to allow everyone the freedom to speak their minds and have their opinions heard. Great ideas can come from anyonenot just senior management, so make sure that you encourage participation from all attendees. 

To help this process, consider delegating leadership to one of your colleagues and let them host the meeting. This gives you the chance to take the back seat whilst building the skills of those under you. Of course, you shouldn't just delegate to one personrather you should consider rotating the leadership role in order to give everyone a chance. 

It's important that you draw the line between meeting participation and chaos. As team leader, it is your role to keep things on track. Follow the tips outlined below in order to keep your meetings focused: 

  • Allocate some additional time in the agenda in case things go off track slightly. If the meeting is scheduled for one hour, make the meeting notes 50 minutes to allow for overrun.
  • If someone raises a point that is urgent, allow them to finish their thoughts before moving on.
  • If someone raises a point that isn't urgent, let the speaker know that there isn't enough time in this meeting but make a note to discuss it next time around.  

Prepare Properly

You've likely heard the phrase "fail to prepare, prepare to fail." The same philosophy rings true with team meetings. Spending an extra hour or two preparing the meeting's content will greatly benefit the overall productivity.

The first thing you should consider is whether the meeting is intended to be a group discussion. If it is, then you'll want to prepare the layout in such a way that encourages people to speak up - rectangular or circular tables are great for this, as everyone is looking face-to-face, which builds rapport. If the meeting is more of a lecture by one or two people, then it's fine to set up in a theater-esque manner with everyone facing the front of the room. 

You'll likely be using slideshows or flip charts in your meeting, so prepare your slides well in advance. The key thing to consider is engagement: you don't want people dozing off while you're talking. The following tips will help you create great presentations: 

  • Keep the words minimal and focus on using visual content that increases audience engagement. 
  • Use bold colors and large text to get your message across - be careful with this, use color elegantly and do not use tacky gimmicks, such as clip art or fancy slide transitions. 
  • Keep your language colloquial - don't overuse technical jargon when it's not required. 
  • Speak slowly and pause every 7-8 slides to allow discussion. This keeps the team engaged and allows salient issues to be solved before moving on. 

Here is a go to website that has more helpful information on how to be an effective team leader.