Does holding team meetings seem to be impossible? You schedule them, but only a few people show up.
The main problem might be the time you’re holding the meetings. While certain times are convenient for you, they might be horrible for your church staff, volunteers and members.
Picking the best time will take a little work as there isn’t an ideal time for every single church or team. However, once you find that golden time, you’ll find your meetings are much more effective.
1. Why Team Meetings Are Important
If no one is even showing up, why bother with team meetings? The truth is team meetings are important. It’s a time to catch everyone up on what’s going on, collaborate on ideas and handle church business in a timely fashion.
Meetings also provide a social element. It’s much easier to talk and share ideas when everyone is in the same room. Plus, it’s easier to build lasting relationships that help your team and church grow stronger.
2. Skip Mondays and Fridays
It should go without saying that Mondays and Fridays are typically bad times for holding team meetings. On Fridays, people are just ready to come home from work and relax. On Mondays, they’re still grieving the loss of the weekend.
Plus, it’s not unusual for people to take Mondays and Fridays off for a long weekend. This means they might have plans to travel out of town or take care of projects at home.
3. Tuesdays At 3 PM Are Great
One study found that the optimal time among most businesses was Tuesdays at 3 PM. This time had the most attendees and they were the most alert. Yet, you’ve probably seen plenty of articles saying that mornings are the best times.
The biggest problem with early morning meetings is you’ll likely have quite a few people running late. Whether it’s traffic issues or sleeping through their alarm, many people won’t be on time.
4. Consider Mealtimes (Lunch Or Dinner)
Odds are, many of your church staff and members work day jobs. This means Tuesdays at 3 PM are out of the question. However, holding team meetings during mealtimes can be a highly effective option.
If everyone works close enough, a 30-minute lunch meeting can work well. Make it easier by catering in sandwiches so everyone can eat while they meet.
The same applies to dinner. Cater in something or ask attendees to each bring something. Since everyone has to eat anyway, why not have a meeting while eating?
5. Meet After Programs Or Services
Sometimes, your team members prefer to do everything at once instead of having to come back later. If this is the case, schedule meetings after various programs or services. You’ll need to consult your team to decide what events to meet after. However, this is sometimes a more convenient option for all.
6. Gather Everyone’s Schedules
The single most important thing to do when deciding the best time for holding team meetings is to gather everyone’s schedules. You could go back and forth with setting dates only to get calls and emails about how those times don’t work for part of your team.
Instead, ask everyone to submit their schedules to you. Then, go through them to find the most convenient times for everyone. If a time works for almost everyone, talk to the remaining team members to see if there is any way for them to work things out.
7. Set A Strict Length
Setting a date and time is great, but you might find people still aren’t attending. The problem is you set a time that works for everyone, but didn’t specify a length.
Perhaps your team only has an hour free on Thursday nights at 7 PM. If meetings tend to run over to 8:30 PM, it’s no longer easy for them to attend. Since most people don’t like meetings anyway, they’d prefer to skip the meeting to deal with other obligations in their lives.
Set a strict length upfront. No matter what, the meeting will end at that time.
8. Prepare A Solid Agenda
Holding team meetings and ensuring they stay on schedule can be difficult. However, preparing a solid agenda before the meeting helps everything to stay on track.
The last thing you want to do is waste time going over items you covered in the last meeting. Or even worse, forgetting important items and having to hold a second meeting. People are far less likely to attend a second meeting just to cover things that were forgotten.
Plus, if things like that keep happening, they’ll feel the meetings aren’t a good use of their time. Then, even the best possible time won’t work for your team.
9. Get Team Input Ahead Of Time
While preparing your agenda, get team input ahead of time. Find out what issues they want to discuss. Encourage them to prepare any facts or questions they might have.
The ideal way to do this is via email or your church’s website. You can have a special section just for team members to log into. They can then submit their topics and concerns for the upcoming meeting. Plus, they can also view the agenda as you develop it.
This further helps your team prepare for the meeting. You’ll be able to stay on track and get out on time just by doing a little prep work.
10. Always Start On Time
As with setting a strict length, you should always start on time. Your church team is busy. They have other obligations to deal with. This is the main reason why it’s so hard to find the right time for holding team meetings.
Respect everyone’s time by always starting on time. Yes, you may have a few people show up late, but don’t wait for them. Start the meeting and let them catch up later. They can speak with you after the meeting or call another team member to see what they may have missed.
Sometimes, meetings take far longer than they should because people tend to socialize before the meeting. Socializing is great, but ask them to show up early if they want to do this or go hang out at a local restaurant after the meeting.
11. Ease Up On Frequency
Think about your own life for a moment. Do you really have the free time to attend meetings every single week? Odds are, you don’t. The truth is you probably don’t need nearly as many meetings as you think.
One of the reasons your team members aren’t agreeing to times is because they can’t attend every meeting. While Wednesdays after services might work once a month, they can’t push back other responsibilities every week. For example, if they have kids, they need to get their kids home and to bed without needing a sitter.
Seriously think about how many meetings you need. For upcoming events, volunteers may need to meet weekly for a month to make sure everything goes as planned. However, church business meetings may only need to be held every few months at most.
The best part about fewer meetings is each meeting will cover more material and be more engaging.
12. Opt For Social Media Meetings
You don’t always have to meet face to face. Instead, holding team meetings on social media can work well. Live stream and have everyone chime in with their thoughts.
You can also just start a post and let your team turn it into a discussion. Then, you have a full transcription of the entire meeting. Often, this is more convenient, especially if you need more frequent meetings. Consider creating private Facebook groups for your various teams so they can hold social media meetings whenever necessary without anyone else getting involved.
13. Fill In With Email Updates
Only have a few things on the agenda? Skip the meeting and fill in with email updates. Ask your entire church team to give you their email addresses so you can send them weekly email updates.
This is an easy way to fill in between meetings. Plus, when it does come time for a meeting, everyone is already up to date and ready to discuss business.
Every team leader can send out their own email to each various group. You can even make it inspiring and engaging by adding a little scripture or a funny Christian comic or story. Then, your team gets a two for one message that they’ll look forward to reading.
14. Use A Team Collaboration Tool
If you’re still struggling to try and figure out the best time for holding team meetings, consider using a team collaboration tool. These work well for your church volunteer teams too.
All your team has to do is log on to the tool, usually a cloud-based option, and check out the latest messages and tasks. Members can chat in real-time, if they’re on together. Of course, you can also schedule chat sessions just like any other meeting. The best part is no one has to drive anywhere, so it’s easier to find the perfect time for everyone.
Some great options to consider include:
- Skype – This is great for video chats and group chats.
- Webex – Another video conferencing tool.
- Slack – Share notes, chat and share documents in one place.
- Trello – A great option for managing volunteer projects.
- Flowdock – An all-in-one collaboration tool.
- Monday – Advanced project management and collaboration tool.
- Church website – Create a private forum on your church’s website to discuss team issues.
- Social media – Facebook works well as you can create private groups for team meetings and even share files.
15. Meet Somewhere Convenient
Even though your church might seem like the best place for holding team meetings, it’s not always the most convenient option. Opting for a place that’s more central to your team makes it easier to find the best possible meeting time.
You might consider a restaurant, especially for smaller teams. Of course, many restaurants have larger rooms that you can book in advance.
If anyone is willing, ask team members to take turns hosting meetings at their homes. By alternating, no one person is responsible all the time.
16. Divide Your Team Up
Don’t forget that you don’t have to have everyone meet at one time. For instance, if possible, divide your team up based on what they do. You might have one meeting just for those involved in finances and another for your ministry leaders.
This creates faster meetings and makes it easier to find a convenient time for all.
17. Never Schedule Meetings Just To Meet
Among the top rules of meeting management is to never schedule unnecessary meetings. This goes back to lowering your meeting frequency. While you may need to hold an emergency team meeting once in a while, you don’t have to hold meetings every week just to meet.
It’s okay to fill in with other options, such as email and social media. The fewer meetings you hold, the more effective your meetings will be. After all, engaging your attendees is half the battle. The other half is getting them to attend, which is easier with fewer meetings.
18. Find Out Why Team Members Aren’t Attending
It’s a common problem that team members aren’t attending church meetings. Thom Rainer even posed a question to his readers asking what their churches are doing to improve attendance.
Several common themes appeared:
- Hold less frequent, but still regular meetings, such as monthly or twice a year
- Turn meetings into celebrations to make them less boring and more engaging
- Shorten meetings
Ask your team why they aren’t attending. Explain that you’re not judging or angry. You just want to know so you can maybe remedy the situation. It could be a team member doesn’t have childcare available. If this is the case, let them bring their child with them. Maybe bumping up the time by 30 minutes is all that’s needed.
Doing what you can to cater to your team will make them more willing to attend. Plus, instead of just saying they can’t make it, they’ll help you work out the best possible time for holding team meetings.
If you’re interested in using your church’s website for meetings and collaboration, contact us today to learn how we can help.
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