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Meetings. That?s not most people?s favorite word, but when they?re done well, they can be very effective. But what if a meeting isn?t the best way to accomplish something? There are things you can do that might help your team better focus and work together. Here are a few to try?

Get outside.

Taking a meeting or a discussion outside makes it feel much less like a stereotypical meeting without doing much of anything. Most likely you work somewhere that has a parking lot or maybe even a trail or sidewalks close by. Take advantage of those things and get some fresh air. The change of scenery and the movement will help stimulate conversation and imagination. It might just be what your team needs to re-focus.

Focus on team building.

Meetings can get monotonous, sure. But they?re so much worse when your people don?t know each other very well.?And even more so when you, as their leader, haven?t taken the time to get to know them personally. Opt for some team building exercises. Escape Rooms are huge right now, and they?re a great way to get your people together for a shared experience. If you don?t have something like that near you, that?s okay. A simple get-together at someone?s house can go a long way to build team morale. Plan some games, and make sure there?s a focus on just being with each other in the midst of any work conversation that might need to occur.[quote]A simple get-together at someone?s house can go a long way to build team morale.[/quote]

Capitalize on meal times.

I don?t know about you, but food is a powerful motivator for me. Luckily, there are three meal times in a day, two of which take place during or close to regular business hours. Plan a work discussion around one of those times. Meet at a restaurant, spread out, and enjoy a different atmosphere. If you?re able financially, cover all or part of the cost with money from your team building account. (If you don?t have one, I highly suggest you request and put aside some money for this in your work budget next year.) Food is great at bringing people together and gives them something to do with their hands while they discuss. And it seems to always lighten the mood.[quote]Food is great at bringing people together and gives them something to do with their hands while they discuss.[/quote]

Utilize third-party resources.

Face-to-face conversation is not always necessary. There are a lot of great tools out there like Basecamp and Slack that allow for discussion and to-dos to be shared among groups of people. Sometimes integrating those resources into your team?s culture can eliminate the need for so many real-life discussions in a week. If nothing else, they are going to improve your communication and your productivity immensely!

Whatever you decide to do, remember to be creative. There is a time and a place for everything. Remember, as culture changes, we need to as well. The traditional meeting structure may need to be shaken up a bit depending on your context and your team. The next time there?s something to discuss, consider some of the things mentioned above and how that could improve your conversation. Don?t settle just because it?s the way it?s always been done. There are alternatives out there, and that just might be what your team needs in order to get to the next level!

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