Meeting of Smithsonian Institution staff on February 14, 1939
Traditional "conference room" staff meetings can be a serious drain on time and energy, and ultimately take away from the productivity in the office rather than improve it. In recent years, stand up versions of staff meetings have encouraged shorter meetings and a more lively discussion, but even they can fail to energize and motivate if not managed appropriately. According to the National Statistics Council, less than half of time spent in meetings is actually productive. To make the best use of a staff meeting, a few best practices will help staff get excited over the daily stand up and get staff motivated to do more, happily.
Include Everyone, Every Day
Often too much emphasis is put on certain departments to perform or announce company developments. Product teams, marketing and advertising, and development often take center stage which is great unless you're in another department. Instead of allowing the daily stand up to reinforce the divisions between departments, create speaking opportunities for every person or every department (depending on your meeting size and time allotments).
By making sure human resources, operations and accounting speak up about things going on in their own department; you'll keep morale higher and get everyone on the same page.
Highlight the Personal
Make sure to include personal shout outs, like congratulating staff on meeting development or training milestones. Include birthdays and work anniversary celebrations as often as possible. Be especially diligent about publicizing the accomplishments of individuals and teams. According to Employment Management Expert Aubrey Daniels, positive reinforcement is most effective when it is personal, occurs soon after a desirable action and isn't combined with any "constructive criticism."
Don't Forget the "Water Cooler"
Keep things lighthearted and funny, but to avoid wasting time, start your "water cooler" time 5 minutes before the actual stand up is supposed to start. This will not only lighten the mood, especially if you have serious topics to address during stand up, but encourage staff to be early to the meeting. Instead of starting off with a more serious or formal tone, which may cause undue stress or feet dragging, start off with fun and friendly chatter to break the ice and promote personal connections.
Not sure how to turn around your stressful staff meetings? Start with getting everyone to stand up and make the first one as lighthearted as possible. Everything you can do to reduce the dread associated with the unknown and improve the comfort level of staff will lend directly to improving the effectiveness of your daily stand up.
In between staff meetings, you and your team might consider other tools to your time and work. Pacific Timesheet project time and work tracking software allows you to track projects, phases and tasks and detailed comments and notes about your work.
Image credit: Smithsonian Institution Staff Meeting with everyone seated. See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons