Meetings are tricky.

Sometimes it can be hard to get everyone on the same page. Other times, people involved don’t have too much to say, no matter how much work has been done since the last meeting. Either way, it feels like a waste of everyone’s time when nothing but some navel-gazing gets done.

It’s time to lay those wasted team meetings to rest. In this post, you’ll learn how to have a productive meeting that gets problems solved and people on the same page.

Read on to learn what to avoid, what to encourage, and how to ensure your meetings go off without a hitch.

The Number One Thing to Avoid

Avoid last-minute planning.

If you are organizing the conference, make sure to have a few talking points to hit throughout and guide the conversation past those signposts.

Having conversational goals is always helpful for a meeting.

If it’s been a slow work week, the meeting can still feel productive. As a meeting organizer, you should have an agenda of what the points you want to discuss. Avoid prolonged silence, unless it serves a purpose (such as independent time to think about a problem).

How to Get the Meeting on Track

If the meeting has strayed a little, fear not!

Asking your teammates how they are making progress on tasks enhances cohesion between teammates.

Ask everyone how work was, what things went well that week, which items didn’t, and ask around to see if anyone found solutions to their problems.

When teammates put their heads together, their thinking will ratchet upward instead of competing downward.

Ultimately, sharing information is always a positive force in the work environment. Definitely during lulls in the workload, but especially during busier times.

The Best-Kept Secrets to a Successful Problem-Solving Meeting

Ensure Task Clarity

Once everyone is focused on their performance of last week’s work, it’s time to focus on the task at hand.

As the meeting organizer, it is your responsibility to make the information clear, especially the specifics of the tasks that need to get done.

Make it clear what needs to be done and allot the appropriate amount of time to each teammate to get the tasks done.

Help Everyone Understand Their Roles

If you give out the orders for the week and are met with glazed-over eyes of misunderstanding, it’s time to explain each person’s roles.

This part is less about the task and more about how it gets done. Even though your team members should understand their job well, there should be no mystery in the job at hand. Explaining how to do it will help everyone understand their roles until the next meet-up.

Keeping Track of Progress

The final ingredient to this process is making it easy to keep track of progress. Implementing a regimen of progress tracking holds your teammates accountable. If everyone on the team can see where everyone else is, it is a motivational factor that ensures a consistent and predictable work output.

The Takeaway for a Productive Team Meeting

Productive problem-solving meetings can only occur when communication is prioritized.

First, communicate the goals for the week, then discuss the progress from last week with individual teammates. Allow teammates to share progress or hiccups they’ve encountered with their projects, discuss the goals for the week ahead and how to achieve them, then track the progress throughout the week.

If you follow these steps, all your future meetings will be as productive and problem-solving as they can be, and all your teammates will know exactly where they stand with their work.