At no point will a digital marketing team come together and say, “Okay, we can stop optimizing now. These good results will last forever.” That’s because the achievements of meeting quarterly goals, delivering great customer service, and improving internal processes aren’t action items that teams can check off a list once and be done with forever.
If this was the case, there would be no need for regular social media and site-wide audits, chatbot re-training, and new customer surveys. The old data and positive reviews from five years ago would be all you needed to maintain business growth. But, as we all know, that’s simply not the reality for B2B and B2C companies.
For a company to thrive long-term, its teams have to work day-in and day-out to improve the company’s current processes, products, and services. If you aren’t constantly progressing toward new goals, growth will become stagnant and then decline altogether. It won’t take long to lose the competitive advantages you have over your competitors.
To set your company on a path for ongoing success, you have to improve internal operations before anything else. And this starts with your team’s meeting cadence. In this guide, we’ll help you determine how effective your current meeting cadence is and share some best practices for getting the most value out of team meetings.
Is your team’s current meeting cadence effective?
It’s entirely possible that the best meeting cadence for your team isn’t the one you currently have. Here’s why.
As your team expands and the company grows, priorities naturally shift. A meeting that you considered relevant and high priority three years ago might not be as important anymore. Maybe your team has since tripled in size and there isn’t enough time for every person to report their progress. Maybe the meeting lost its structure and purpose over time, and your team feels disengaged.
By paying attention to a couple of factors, you can regularly assess whether or not your team’s meetings are as beneficial and necessary as you initially hoped.
What These Factors Reveal About Your Current Processes
Time Allocated vs. Time Spent
Did you know that leaders typically spend 35%-50% of their time in meetings and consider more than half (67%) of these meetings to be unproductive? While there’s no denying that meetings are necessary for businesses, not all meetings are necessary or beneficial for teams.
One of the first signs that your team’s meeting cadence needs a refresh is when certain meetings are going overtime or undertime. Going over time could mean that the meetings need to be better structured, extended, and/or occur on a more frequent basis (from monthly to weekly, for example).
Going under time could mean that meetings are taking place too often (daily instead of weekly, for instance) or there simply isn’t enough material to discuss. If it’s the latter case, it might be time to nix this meeting altogether.
Determining how much time your team is spending in meetings on a weekly basis is a great way to start figuring out what is and isn’t working with your current meeting cadence. But to know for certain, you have to go directly to the source: your team.
Do any of your direct reports and fellow team members feel disconnected from the team or the company as a whole? Are the right people involved in the meetings? Is the material covered in the meetings relevant and comprehensive? This is your opportunity to speak with each team member one-on-one and find out exactly how they feel about the meetings in question.
By doing this, you can also discover what specific changes your team can make going forward to ensure that everyone involved finds the meetings engaging, productive, and beneficial.
How to choose the best meeting cadence for your team
Keep it minimal and essential.
Whether your team runs meetings virtually, in person, or both, we recommend taking a less-is-more approach when building your team’s meeting schedule. Here’s what we mean. The vast majority of employees use meeting time for daydreaming (90%) or catching up on other work (73%). While there could be many reasons for this, it really boils down to a perspective of essential vs. nonessential.
A less-is-more approach simply means that you identify which types of meetings are most essential for your team, and how often these meetings realistically should recur. Maybe this means you block out time for weekly one-on-one meetings, bi-weekly all-hands meetings with your department, and quarterly business review meetings. Once you identify the highest priority meetings, you can set aside more time for supplemental meetings if need be.
What matters most is that your team is well-informed and engaged but not overwhelmed with meetings. Especially when working with remote and hybrid work schedules, Zoom fatigue can occur and wreak havoc on team morale.
Keeping your meeting lineup minimal and essential is a great way to ensure that your team is getting the most out of the meeting times.
Set clear expectations with your team.
Every meeting in your team’s meeting cadence should have a clearly defined purpose and agenda. One of the best ways to do this is with a meeting tool like Hive Notes. Hive Notes is a free extension of Hive that lets you create agendas, share them with participants, and collaborate on them in real-time during the meeting. It’s a brand new way to take meeting notes and make sure everyone leaves with clear next steps.
Hive Notes is also now available as an app in the Zoom Marketplace. This means you can access the full power of Hive Notes right within your Zoom window. It’s the easiest way to take notes in Zoom meetings without having to toggle back and forth between screens.
Not only should your team see the value in each meeting, but they should also know if and how they are expected to contribute. (The last thing any team member wants is to have to spin up a presentation on extremely short notice.)
Will certain meetings exclusively take place over Zoom? Or do team members have the option to attend in person? Keep in mind that depending on the location and setup of your team members, you might need to alter your expectations. Effective remote team communication involves understanding the barriers and obstacles your team may face and managing your expectations.
If the event follows a hybrid meeting model, how will the team leaders regulate the meeting to make sure that the remote workers aren’t being talked over or excluded from the conversation?
These are the types of questions that you should be able to answer long before the meeting actually starts. By communicating your expectations with team members, you can make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Ask for, listen to, and take your team’s feedback.
The last and perhaps most important way to find the best meeting cadence for your team is to conduct regular check-ins with them.
Are conversations during meetings derailing too often? Are certain people dominating the discussion? Does every team member feel like their contributions are valued?
Your team meetings could have a clear agenda — we’re talking down to the minute — and cover all of the essential information your team needs on a daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly basis, but there is always room for improvement.
It’s likely that you have your own biases and blindspots when it comes to running a meeting. By speaking with your team one-on-one, you’ll step outside of this self-made bubble and invite your team to share feedback that will make your meetings more impactful and engaging long-term.
This is a guest post written by Mackenzie Scott. Mackenzie is a copywriter at Soundstripe, a stock music company that provides filmmakers, creators, and advertisers with different music genres like country music and suspense music for video.