Team briefings are an important element of any successful team. Having regular meetings with your team gives you the opportunity of providing information on things such as priorities, projects, policies and staffing. This prevents confusion and misunderstanding in your team, which might lead to mistrust, hurt feelings or even false rumors.
Here are some of the characteristics of a team briefing:
- It is convened by the team leader
- It is carried out physically with a small team
- Such meetings are brief, usually running for 30 minutes or less
- Team members usually have the chance to ask questions
Keeping your team members constantly updated about what is happening has several benefits:
- Team members are clear about the goals and mission of the organization
- Everyone knows what everyone else is working on. This prevents confusion of roles
- It offers a good opportunity for team members to know each other, especially if they work in different locations
- Team members are aware of the present challenges and are thus ready to make the necessary adjustments
- The team leader is able to keep track of the progress through constant communication
- The position of the team leader is reinforced. This builds commitment, cooperation and trust among team members
So how do you carry out a team briefing?
1. Establish a process
Your organization should have a standard procedure for team briefings. This way, team members will always know what to expect. Team leaders should be given training on how to carry out team briefings effectively. Managers and supervisors who excel in briefing their teams should be identified and rewarded.
2. Establish your objectives
Since you won’t have much time to relay information, you need to have a clear agenda for the team briefing. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the main message that needs to be delivered?
- What background information needs to be communicated?
- What action is required from individuals or the team as a whole?
- What is the timeline for these actions?
- What are the expected results?
- Are there any previous action items that need to be addressed?
3. Create ground rules
For team briefings to be successful, you need to establish some ground rules. Here are some guidelines to consider:
- Have a consistent meeting time
- All team members must attend the briefing. If for some reason someone cannot attend, find a way of keeping them updated
- Encourage people to be honest, open and respectful
- The meeting should focus only on the pre-determined objectives
4. Prepare your presentation
When preparing your presentation, ask yourself the following questions:
- What progress has been made by the team or organization since the last briefing?
- Are there any procedures or policies that have been altered or introduced?
- Are there any people or staffing issues that need to be addressed?
- What are the immediate priorities for the organization or team?
It would also be advisable to focus on the issues that affect your team most.
5. Deliver the information
How you deliver your message will have a significant effect on the success of your team briefing. The following are some things to consider:
- Select an appropriate method – Find out how your team learns best and choose an appropriate delivery method
- Make it interesting – Use illustrations and language which people will identify with
- Own the message – The team members will buy into the message if you already own it yourself
- Stay positive – Focus on the positive aspect of the message while being candid
- Encourage questions – Allow people to share their questions or concerns openly
When conducted properly, team briefings can prove very valuable for any organization. To enhance their effectiveness, you could consider reinforcing the message through company newsletters, the intranet or email. Be sure to follow up on all the feedback received.