Team Meeting and Briefing

One of the areas where a brilliant leader can have a massive impact on their staff is via team meetings and briefings. This provides you with an excellent opportunity to motivate and inspire your people. Being able to run an effective team meeting or briefing is a key skill that you should develop. The format and key principles are relatively straightforward but, as with most aspects of effective communication, the skill level required is high.

Clear Objective:
Your should make it clear at the beginning of the meeting (or even beforehand) what you are trying achieve as a group. Your objective should be clear and specific without being over engineered. For example, developing an actions plan to solve a particular issue is a good objective but to have decided in advance what that action plan will be is likely to be over engineered as it does'nt take into account any good ideas or inputs the team might have. Clear objective provide the group with focus and are a tool that you can use to keep meeting on track.

Preparation :
Most of the time you should ask your team to do some preparation ahead of a meeting or briefing. As a minimum this should include thinking about issues, under discussion but could also extend to research or presentation tasks.

Agenda :
An agenda is a plan of how your meeting is to be structured. It should be regarded as a flexible document that is , you should only move away from agenda if it helps you to achieve you objective.

Facilitation:
Your Primarily role as a leader of the meeting is to guide the group towards achieving the objective. You do this by facilitating discussion and making skilled interventions. To start you should start what the problem, issue or opportunity is and then challenge the group to find a way forward by asking questions that encourage relevant inputs from them. Everyone should be encouraged t speak bu only if they have something relevant to say. There is a balance to be struck between team members who contribute enthusistically and when this spills over to become dominating. When a member begins to dominate you can usually control their contributions by asking other if they have any comment to make. If this does not work, you might need to curtail the dominant contributor by pointing out they need to give others a chance to contribute.

The other aspect of facilitation is to ensure th meeting keeps progressing. If a contributor starts to go off at tangent, bring them back to track with a question. Once a point has been made or agreed, move the group on to the next point. If there is a blockage or disagreement, summaries the state of play and pose a question to move the group on.

Action :
Most of the time, team meeting and briefings results in actions (except where the objective is merely to inform). All actions should be summarized, responsibility allocated and deadlines agreed. These should then be confirmed in writing as soon as possible after meeting.

80/20 Rule of Communication

The 80/20 rule dictates that good communication is about spending a majority of your time listening and minority of of you time talking. When communicating with your staff it is very easy to break the 80/20 rule and to talk more than you listen. 

This is because you will have your own ideas on what needs to be done, how it is to be done and when it needs to be done. However, a shared leadership style is likely to achieve better results overall than an autocratic style and this approach requires that you listen to your staff and encourage them to take degree of ownership for their own performance and development. 

This does not mean though that you cannot tell staff what to do, make suggestions or offer your opinion. The 80/20 Rule merely requires that you engage your staff in dialogue and, wherever  possible, you facilitate a discussion where they reach right conclusions and answers for themselves.

The key here is to listen actively with both of your eyes and your ears. "Listen" to people's body language and facial expressions. If a staff members looks confused., they probably are, so seek to clarify site situation. If a staff members looks like they have something to say, they probably do, so invite their opinion. When listening with your ears you should listen to what people are actually saying but also try to assess the underlying meaning behind their message as well as trying to "listen" to what they are not saying. Things that people avoid talking about can often highlight a lack of underlying or appreciation of the issues.

The 80/20 rule can be applied in all one to one communication, with team members such as coaching, performance reviews and feedback discussion.

Relevant Page: Communication SkillsStages for DevelopmentMonitoring and performance Review