Who has ever been to a meeting that was…let’s say ineffective? Okay, everyone can put their hands down now.
“Meetings fill an increasing number of hours in the workday, and yet most employees consider them as a waste of time,” says Neal Hartman, Forbes.
According to a 2012 survey by Salary.com, meetings ranked as the number one office productivity killer. Yikes! Fortunately, with a little forethought and some creative thinking, business owners and managers can ensure they design Successful Meetings that maximize their employees time.
Successful Meetings 101
“Meetings can be very efficient and productive when they are planned right,” says Melanie Woodward, The Balance. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your meetings.
Set a Clearly Defined Goal
Before you send out that invite, stop and think about what you’re trying to accomplish. Are you brainstorming ideas? Is the meeting intended to make decisions? Is a formal meeting really necessary?
“We often think a formal meeting is the best way to share information or have a discussion,” says Woodward. “But if your news can be delivered via email or conference call, or just by rallying a few people in your office for 15 minutes, then it’s probably a good idea to skip the formal meeting altogether.”
If a meeting isn’t prudent, you can ask yourself if there is a more efficient way to relay the information?
One way to make your next meeting more impactful is to make it more fun. Team building can certainly help do that, especially if you are trying to improve interoffice productivity – boost morale, improve communication, and collaboration.
Team building “can also be adventurous and enjoyable if you do it with a little pizzazz,” says Brian Scudamore, O2E Brands founder and CEO. “The most successful, memorable team-building events are ones that don’t feel like a day at the office.”
At Terrapin Adventures, we make team building engaging, meaningful and fun! Our outdoor team building programs feature our highly trained facilitators taking you through a variety of team building exercises on our Low and High Ropes Course. Our indoor programs are a blast as well. Plus, we can take our team building show on the road! Our experienced facilitators can travel offsite to your office, or any number of other indoor facilities, including hotels, conference centers, gymnasiums, etc.
Who needs to be at this meeting?
“When people feel that what’s being discussed isn’t relevant to them, or that they lack the skills or expertise to be of assistance, they’ll view their attendance at the meeting as a waste of time,” says Hartman.
Participants should include stakeholders and people being asked to achieve your specific goals. However, don’t just limit your meeting to senior executives. Make sure you have representation across multiple levels.
Go Over Logistics
Next, it’s important to go over logistics: when, where, and how. Choose a location – either onsite or offsite at Terrapin Adventures or a local hotel, conference center, or park. Make meal plans if the team building program is going to be more than a few hours. And finalize the agenda. Make sure to have your timeline solidified. Remember, large groups take more time to get started and transition between activities.
“Create an agenda that lays out everything you plan to cover in the meeting, along with a timeline that allots a certain number of minutes to each item, and email it to people in advance,” says Hartman. “Once you’re in the meeting, put that agenda up on a screen or whiteboard for others to see. This keeps people focused.”
Nothing can derail a meeting faster than a loose agenda. But don’t be afraid to build in some unstructured time as well. This informal interactivity can really help build camaraderie.
Choose a Facilitator
“Remember, you’ll only get value from a team building experience if it’s well executed,” says Billy Kirsch, Kidbilly Music. An experienced facilitator is the backbone of any successful team building program. They not only lead the individual exercises, but also hold reflection sessions to help reinforce the lessons learned during those exercises.
“By talking with client ahead of time about the group’s objectives, we can then design a customized program to meet the group’s goals,” says Matt Baker, Chief Adventure Officer at Terrapin Adventures.
Even More Benefits of Team Building
“Team building is the most important investment you can make for your people,” says Brian Scudamore, O2E Brands CEO and founder.
Build Relationships Across Divisions
Too often, our offices work in silos. Team building helps bring the whole organization together for a fun day of togetherness. Employees who normally would not interact will now have a chance to get to know each other and share best practices.
“We bring people out here from city schools, office workers, people who don’t really know each other that well but just know they work down the hall,” says Baker. “Then when they start working as a team and have to support each other with these challenges, a positive transformation takes place.”
Team Building is Fun
Avoid the dreaded death by PowerPoint. Team building helps make your meeting more fun, which will, in turn, help keep your employees engaged.
“Working in an office can be a very sedentary job, so it’s especially important to your overall sense of health and happiness to take a few minutes during your workday to get up and move a little,” says Jason Bergund, founding director of Dancetherapy.
When team building sessions are facilitated by trained professionals, each exercise is followed by a reflection where the lessons learned are tied back to the office. A skilled facilitator makes the exercises fun, engaging and relevant.
Terrapin Adventures has worked with hundreds of companies and organizations over the last 10 years. Check out our video, testimonials and staff profiles to learn more about our custom team building programs.
If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.