5 Things to Consider for a Purposeful Meeting
We all understand how important it is to carve out dedicated time and be intentional with our team meetings. I found myself full of dread when I knew meeting day was coming up. I’ve figured out why. Our meeting structures were poorly organized and uncontrolled, making a terrible experience for everyone. Here are five solutions to make each meeting more purposeful.
It’s easy for a team meeting to turn into a complaint session. If the team criticizes each other or the office without finding effective solutions that improve things, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. The best way of gaining control is to clearly establish meeting expectations upfront. Including what these meetings are and aren’t for. Team meetings should be valuable and routine, not thrown together because someone is upset or someone else has made a mistake. An environment that doesn’t allow discussions or disagreement isn’t an environment of growth, but some topics are better suited for one-on-ones or department meetings. It’s best to stay on track for monthly team meetings with an overall vision for the office.
I decided to change when it was scheduled to achieve an ideal monthly meeting. I chose the last day of the week, thinking everyone would be more encouraged to stay on track. No matter how well we mesh during the day, we always look forward to much-deserved time away from the office after a long week. I closed the office at lunchtime, so there was dedicated time for each other. I also provided food; aren’t we all happier with full bellies? I’ll share the agenda I used to help keep the meeting running smoothly, but the first thing to remember is to be sure to come prepared. Have notes from previous meeting dates, a notepad, a pen, and a timer.
The first ten minutes of the meeting are dedicated to settling in, getting organized, and naming the FACILITATOR, TIMEKEEPER, and NOTE TAKER of the day. Your facilitator will host the meeting by announcing the topics and ensuring each department is heard with the help of the timekeeper. Depending on the planned length of the meeting, the timekeeper will set a timer for each discussion topic, allowing enough time for everyone to feel involved. The note taker will take a record during each meeting to reference goals and successes and any policy changes or updates. A good rule of thumb to help keep everyone engaged is to rotate these duties at each team meeting.
The last 15-minute timer set for our meeting is used for bringing all discussions to a close and reviewing the goals set with the appropriate team member, department, and practice.
Goals can be a small change to the daily flow or something as big as a policy change with a long-term outlook in mind. Either way, ensuring we all stay on the same page for the practice’s future is important. Each meeting should include a review of the goals from our last sit-down. If those goals haven’t been reached, we figure out why and what we can do to help each other achieve them. Setting milestones for individuals, the doctor, or the practice is only the first step. We have to hold each other accountable to ensure proper growth.
SUPPORTING YOUR TEAM
A great way to support your team is by involving them in decision-making and truly hearing what they have to say. You may even find they’re excited to set goals for themselves.
Another seemingly small but important thing I believe every meeting should include are shoutouts. Celebrate every success each team member has achieved since the last team meeting. Each person was hand-picked for your team for a reason. Acknowledging them makes for a happy team.
The first time I implemented my new meeting agenda, our timekeeper made sure we were allowed enough time to hit every topic, stayed on track, and even finished the day a little earlier than expected. Everyone stayed focused and left with a smile on their face–and a full belly.
About the Author
Brooke Paul, FAADOM, is the practice coordinator at Beaver Creek Dental in Knoxville, TN. She has been an AADOM member since 2019 and became a lifetime member in 2022. Brooke received her Fellowship (FAADOM) designation in 2022 and will be inducted into the 2023 class of AADOM Masters (MAADOMs) in September.