How to Have Great Team Meetings

April 10, 2023

How to Have Great Team Meetings.

In a successful team, regular meetings are crucial. They help people understand the goals, the individual roles, and coordinate efforts to reach the desired results.

But to make them effective, there are some guidelines that the team needs to follow. In this blog post, we will go through the guidelines for a great team meeting, including the importance of scheduling regular meetings, setting ground rules, and how to prepare for a productive meeting.

We will also discuss the ground rules that every team member should adhere to to create a positive and respectful meeting environment.


Team meetings should be scheduled regularly.

  1. This is important if you are going to establish a path of progress with one another.
  2. Do not suspend meetings over the summer or because someone is on vacation.
  3. It is important that you block time in the appointment book or on the computer before your scheduled patients. Do not try to fit them in between patients or find a time when you have “holes.” Prioritize meetings rather than look for time not already committed to patients.
  4. Consider this time to be sacred. Nothing should supersede meeting time, even if you are heavily scheduled and need to find a place to put more patients.
  5. Meetings can be very effective in helping to coordinate the efforts of the team. They help people develop a collective consciousness. This is an awareness of what you are working to achieve and the role that each person plays in the plan. The results of team meetings help people to become more effective with each effort so that more is accomplished in less time with less confusion.

Meetings should be scheduled every (day, week, month) at the same time.

  1. Regularly scheduled meetings give team members a chance to touch base frequently. A lot can happen between meetings, and the value of those experiences can be lost without a specific opportunity for the team to address it. There is much to be learned from daily happenings, but it is difficult to create the feelings the longer the span is between meetings.
  2. The issues that are raised can be applied to the practice right away, and the results of that application are current and meaningful in these meetings.
  3. The team should get into the habit of using these meetings for debriefing, touching base with one another, and airing feelings. The primary purpose of these meetings is to help us understand one another’s feelings. Even the most timid member can begin to feel comfortable in the arena of meetings.

Meetings should be held regardless of who attends.

This means that the meeting goes on even if the hygienist is ill, the new patient facilitator is on maternity leave, or the doctor is on vacation, etc.

This requires planning and determination. Perhaps a tape recorder will become part of the standard office equipment. Many practices record their meetings so that missing team members can hear what happened.

It’s sometimes best for meetings to be held at the end of the scheduled day or at the end of the workweek (with the exception of the huddle).

  1. You will get more out of your meetings if you have them in the last two hours of the day rather than the first two. There is nothing more damaging to the process than to be distracted or cut short by a critical patient appointment, which comes before the meeting is completed.
  2. Serious discussion may take a bit of time to get into, and patients may arrive before all of the team members have entered into the discussion. Scheduling patients after team meetings may also interfere with delving into more difficult interpersonal issues. When feelings have been openly shared, reflection rather than putting in a crown may be a more appropriate follow-up. Certain individuals may be reluctant to raise issues for fear there may not be enough time to deal with them adequately. Open-ended time eliminates this problem.
  3. The meeting should focus on what is actually happening in the practice, not entirely on hypothetical situations. Monday morning or afternoon meetings may lose impact because of the intervening weekend. Having meetings at the end of the week provides many important real-life experiences for team processing.

Start with two hours and grow into the right amount of time for you.

If you are now meeting regularly and on a schedule, begin by blocking two hours of time at the end of every week for your meeting.

As you develop your style of meeting, identify issues to address and have some experience in processing with one another. You will then discover if that is enough time. If not, add time. Do not block half a day right at the start.


Rules for a Productive Meeting

  1. Experiment with meeting times to see what works best, but then try to be consistent.
  2. Be clear about the purpose of the meetings to make them worthwhile. There should be a purpose statement for each meeting for everyone to see. Get a flipchart and write the purpose of the meeting on it. It’s really a reminder as to why we’re spending the time on this rather than on something else.
  3. Allow time for discussion and encourage everyone to participate. Take turns leading the meeting, timekeeping, and note-taking.
  4. Post the minutes prominently after the meeting so everyone can see and be reminded of their assignments.


Ground Rules For All Meetings

  1. Approach the meeting with a positive attitude and be prepared.
  2. Contribute to the meeting thoughtfully.
  3. Always show courtesy and respect to other team members. If you disagree, don’t launch a personal attack on the other person. Stick to the facts.
  4. Listen attentively.
  5. Follow up on all assignments quickly.
  6. Try to stay focused on the big picture.

Get Ready

  1. Set the Stage
  2. Turn off the phones. Lower the volume on the answering machine or let voice mail pick up messages. You can change your message to say the team is at continuing education.
  3. Lock the door.
  4. Redirect deliveries to a neighboring office.
  5. Do whatever you must to minimize interruptions and disruptions.
  6. Insure there is proper seating so that everyone is comfortable.
  7. Put your chairs in a circle so you can see one another.
  8. Make sure the temperature is moderate so participants don’t get sleepy.
  9. Provide light snacks and drinks if the meeting is over two hours long.

Have the Proper Equipment Available

  1. Use a flipchart or whiteboard to list your agenda items. Have fresh markers in several colors.
  2. Be sure to have masking tape to post completed pages around the meeting room. Notes are essential for follow-through and completion.
  3. Consider having a tape recorder, fresh batteries, and new tapes available for your meetings. This is important for a lot of information and team members who cannot attend.
  4. If participants will be considering information, be sure to make copies of the data for distribution.
  5. Copies of minutes from previous meetings are always helpful.

Establish Your Ground Rules

If you haven’t yet considered ground rules, your first meeting should focus on this important topic. They can be very simple. Consider the following:

  1. Each person is responsible for representing himself or herself.
  2. All problems belong to the group.
  3. Each person is responsible for contributing to a safe environment.
  4. No triangulation: always go to the source.
  5. No ambushing.
  6. The first person to recognize a problem has a responsibility to raise it.
  7. Check your motive before you speak.
  8. There are no sacred cows.

Each practice will formulate ground rules that fit their unique needs. Once you’ve agreed on a set of rules, post them in your meeting room and review them before each meeting. Hold yourselves accountable to your rules and resist making changes until you’ve had an opportunity to let them work for you.