Meeting is a word that tends to be most unwelcome in business. Do you ever feel that all you do all day is attend meetings? Meetings about sales, finances, what type of fridge would suit the team, and my personal favorite – a meeting to discuss why you are having so many meetings.
Running a business without meetings is impossible. They are how you communicate with your teams and resolve issues, but they need to be controlled. As an entrepreneur, you only need to be present in a few key meetings, so train your team and allocate others to lead them.
All types of meetings need to be prescheduled and all attendees punctual. You and your managers need to lead by example, always being respectful of your
team members’ time. If the meeting is scheduled for thirty minutes, make sure it does not run over that time; use a timer if need be. There are generally two types of meetings in business.
These are meetings where a manager speaks in private with an employee who reports directly to them. This helps to build a strong relationship between the employee and manager and shows employees that the company leaders care about their opinion and their work. It is in this meeting that the employee reports directly to their manager, and together, they review the progress, successes, and failures of their work in a given time, as well as allow the employee to express any concerns or struggles within the company.
There are conflicting opinions about who should take the minutes in a one-to-one meeting. Some believe that the employee should keep minutes and write them up after the meeting. This is based on the premise that it will make the employee feel more responsible and pay attention to the tasks discussed in the meeting. Some believe that the person in the higher position should write the minutes and share them at the end of the meeting, clearly stating tasks and goals.
There is a third option that works for CEOs or general managers: a secretary or designated scribe comes into the meeting to ensure all notes are documented, the scheduled time is respected, and the agenda for the next meeting is completed and distributed. The scribe can also be in charge of ensuring that all tasks are completed before the next one-to-one meeting.
You and the other meeting hosts should decide what works for you all. What matters is that your team of hosts is consistent and all relevant people have access to the minutes of the meeting. A maximum of thirty minutes per employee is enough to cover all that is needed.
The thirty minutes of the one-to-one meeting should follow the 10/10/10 rule: The first ten minutes are to get to know the employee better with a few personal questions and some small talk. The next ten minutes is the serious bit, where KPIs, goals, and tasks are reviewed that the team member agreed on at the previous meeting. The last ten minutes are dedicated to the team member’s performance in general.
As well as individual communication, team communication about performance is vitally important.
A team meeting can enable that by creating shared ownership of successes and failures. It is used for making decisions and announcements and giving necessary information to team members, allowing all departments a chance to express their progress and share their small wins.
Depending on your team size and the agenda, the time you’ll need to schedule a team meeting may vary. Give team members with the same level of responsibility the same amount of time to talk. This is when they share their wins and worries, improving communications between departments and allowing the members to get to know each other a bit better.
There is no rule about who should run the team meeting; in many cases, as the company grows, the founder will not be present at all of the meetings. Train a few employees to run a meeting, allowing you to choose whether to attend. Ensure that the manager of each department is present; if they’re absent from work, designate someone else to take their place that day. All relevant staff members should attend.
Before the meeting
A member of staff should be assigned to run the meeting – known as the meeting lead – and another assigned to keep notes – the scribe. An agenda should be created, including all the topics to be discussed, which is accessible to all team members as soon as the previous meeting is completed. (The most common timeline is a week ahead.) Encourage employees to add topics they would like to discuss in that meeting.
A time and place for the meeting should be clearly communicated to all employees. The place can be a physical location or online via Zoom, Teams, etc. It is good practice to have consistency in the location and time.
During the team meeting
The lead will welcome everyone, pass on apologies for absence and perhaps indicate who is taking a certain team leader’s place, as well as sum up the minutes of the previous meeting.
They should then allow for a few minutes of casual chat to get the team engaged. In our business, we often have specific questions to help the team members to get to know each other, such as ‘What is your favorite drink?’ or ‘What is your favorite food?’, which changes weekly. The lead often directs the question to specific people to avoid awkward silences.
The lead will then introduce the main themes for discussion. Each department will be invited to share successes and issues, and actions and goals will be set as needed.
After all, departments have been covered, the lead will share the brand’s highlights and successes for the period of time since the last team meeting. Upcoming changes or information might also be shared at that point. It is important to ensure that the lead always contributes last, allowing all attendees to express their opinions beforehand.
The big picture – your vision – is the ultimate goal, and to arrive there, you have to go through your daily operations. Meetings are essential to the smooth running of your business, but it doesn’t mean you need to allocate all your precious time to them. By training your team to lead meetings, means that you only need to attend the meetings of most importance. This then allows you more time to grow your business and design.
About the author:
Artemis Doupa is CEO & Founder at maake.com and maakeAcademy. A creative entrepreneur, profit guide, and adventurous marketer based in London, Artemis specializes in one-to-one coaching of visionary fashion and interior designers who want to grow their business and have an impact in their market while still doing what they love. Her aim is to help creatives learn to balance the responsibilities of a thriving business whilst still making time for designing and their craft. Artemis is an expert in digital fabric printing and, over the past years, has worked with over 10,000 brands, including ASOS, Dior, and Alexander McQueen. Artemis’s new book, Design & Grow, is all about how creative entrepreneurs can reach their business potential, grow profits and get their design time back at the same time.