While managers may not realize it, there are few things that can generate more internal groans among employees than the announcement of another team meeting or conference call. Employees consistently rank these types of gatherings as one of their least favorite recurring on-the-job experiences, with many believing that the benefits are few to none.

4 Ways to Improve Your Team Meetings

Nevertheless, team meetings and calls can serve vital purposes and deliver important benefits when optimized properly. Whether it be a team meeting for workplace safety or a conference call regarding a new software launch, having a structured, productive, and engaging plan for each meeting determines how much value it provides to bosses, workers, and businesses alike.

As such, here are four ways that team meetings can be improved to ensure everybody is participating and benefiting from them.

Insist on In-Person Meetings When Possible

One major complaint from those who lament the justification or productivity of team meetings is that remote gatherings via conference calls are a complete waste of time. When individuals are not face-to-face, the opportunity for workers to zone out and focus on other tasks becomes substantially greater. Fundamentally, this can result in any important information disseminated during the team meeting being neglected or missed.

As such, in-person team meetings are the best route for businesses where possible. Many local, industrial, and retail businesses already utilize in-person team meetings in lieu of remote alternatives, but some office settings have not embraced this concept. It is worth considering where in-person meetings are possible.

Provide Demonstrations and/or Visuals for Examples

When team meetings delve too deeply into the academic or the abstract, it can be difficult for workers to absorb the important concepts being discussed. Whether reviewing last quarter’s financial performance metrics or instructing workers on new workplace safety procedures, keeping the topics grounded in demonstrable concepts is vital if the information is to be absorbed.

The easiest way to do so is by providing demonstrations or using visual aids in situations where concepts might not be easily understood. For number-heavy discussions, charts and graphs can make presenting complex data a much easier task. Websites like Weekly Safety provide valuable training tips and help with presenting information to workers at team meetings.

Whatever the context, give your workers a bit of consideration when having team meetings: help them follow along by offering demonstrations and visual aids.

Give Workers Rotating Meeting Responsibilities

It can be all too easy to zone out of team meetings and conference calls whenever you are personally required to speak up and engage. However, employers have discovered that involving individual employees during each meeting can bolster engagement and attention spans. This not only pertains to asking questions and soliciting feedback from specific team members, but also by ensuring that various individuals have a predetermined role in each team meeting.

By giving one or two team members a small amount of responsibility ahead of time for each meeting, employers can gradually improve engagement and retention of shared information. Likewise, rotating meeting responsibilities can help improve each team member’s own skills.

Provide Feedback to Team Members

The more each individual in attendance at a team meeting is engaged, the more they are likely to engage with the broader meeting process. This has already been highlighted, but another method for ensuring increased engagement involves giving feedback to team members on a name-by-name basis.

Acknowledging positive accomplishments by each individual since the last meeting can pique their interests and help keep them engaged and listening for longer. Sharing positive feedback from customers and clients, highlighting improvements made by the overall team, and touching on potential areas of weakness alike can all further improve the productivity of meetings and increase the amount of attention being paid to the meeting by team members.

Just remember that team meetings are only as productive and meaningful as the team makes it. By giving feedback, providing a rotating list of responsibilities to various users for each meeting, using demonstrations and visuals, and meeting in-person when possible, brands large and small can ensure their team gatherings are more than a formality or waste of time.