It’s 11:00 on Monday morning and your team, spread across the world, is about to dial in to a virtual meeting. Why? To update each other on what’s been going on over the past week, and what might happen over the next few weeks. In theory this could be really interesting, useful and beneficial, if it weren’t for the tight deadlines you have this week, and the knowledge that you’re going to be putting in a few late nights to meet them. Do you really need to spend time listening to Thierry, Namrata, and Quentin talking you through their week when you’ve got so much to do?
The reasons why weekly update meetings contribute to the success of the team’s performance
- They keep you all in contact with each other. Emails are useful, but you don’t talk to each other. There is no real chance to build rapport and trust with your colleagues on the team.
- They give the manager a chance to talk to and relay information to everyone at the same time.
- Things happen in the week and everyone then knows that they have an opportunity to talk about them on this regular occasion. Unless something has to be dealt with right now, you can save it until then and not interrupt everyone during the week.
- High performing teams help each other in difficult situations. If you don’t go to that meeting and share the fact that you are under pressure, nobody will be able to help you out. Everyone is, after all, working towards the same goals.
What makes weekly update meetings great?
There are, again, so many factors that could make these meetings great. This starts with recognizing that there are problems, and dealing with them. Here are a few suggestions:
- If everyone is well-prepared and sticks to the agenda.
- If everyone takes turns to speak.
- If everyone shows interest when the others are speaking and reacts to what the speaker is saying.
- If the language used is clear so that everyone can understand.
- If the agenda varies from time to time. These meetings do run a risk of becoming routine. If you change the contact from time to time, this can help with the interest level.
- If everyone commits to agreed rules.
- If people refrain from doing other tasks at the same time as the meeting.
The alternatives to having a weekly update meeting
Do you simply want to update and be updated or do you want to help improve your team’s performance? If you’re looking for alternatives to the weekly meeting, then these options might be useful.
There is definitely a time and a place for emails, and they serve the purpose of conveying information. But they can be misread, and they can also be not read. There is no interaction and you have no chance to discuss responses with everyone at the same time unless you want an inbox bombardment.
A team portal or community
A lot of organizations now have their own internal social network. You can use communities for a wide range of purposes. You may also have a portal for your team. Why not use this to post updates before the meeting and then ask team members to talk specifically about one or two of the points? Alternatively they could ask questions on the portal/community that they would like help with. If everyone else has seen the issues in advance, then they have time to think, and will have something to contribute.
What is the structure of the update?
Just like with meetings, it is useful to give team members a common structure if you decide you’ll use email or an online platform for your weekly updates. Ask yourself:
- What do you want them to share?
- What tasks are they working on?
- What challenges are they facing?
- How can the other members of the team help?
- What are the next steps?
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help improve the way your (virtual) team works, take a look at https://www.targettraining.eu/soft-skills-trainings/?lang=de and our ebook https://hs.targettraining.eu/ebook/virtualteamschecklists