RUN AN EFFECTIVE FRC TEAM MEETING
Running an effective meeting is a hard thing to do, especially when you are working with people who are new to the team, or they just don’t engage well with large groups of people. Listed below are three tips that we think every FRC team needs to consider when running a meeting.
Tip No. 1: Meet regularly (Keep it short!)
Depending on what team meeting you are having, whether it’s the whole team or just a sub-team, you should almost always meet on a regular basis. By doing this, you create a healthy atmosphere for each student because he or she can express their opinions, concerns, or just general comments with the rest of the team. Communicating in these ways builds a community out of the team. It helps everyone understand what each teammate is thinking, and it allows for conversation and creative thinking.
In the end, everyone in the meeting can feel accomplished and satisfied with what took place. It will reinforce the team’s decision about what was being talked about.
Tip No. 2: Hold different meetings for different information
This one is really important. Many times when meetings are conducted the main goal of the meeting is not met. There is always some distraction or some person who gets off topic and starts ranting about other issues that have nothing to do with what the current meeting is about. For example, in the first week of build season, your team meeting could be about what kind of drive train the robot should have. During the meeting, someone else starts talking about the shooting mechanism and how that is not going to work with the robot. That is when you stop the team and refocus them on what needs to be communicated.
A good way to keep your team on topic is to set specific time limits for each section of the meeting. Divide the 30min meeting up into a few different sections that are labeled with the different talking points. For example, you could have a meeting about team promotion. This meeting could be divided up into three sections:
- Website Graphics (10mins),
- Community Outreach Ideas (15mins)
- The Summary (5mins).
Tip No. 3: Assign a moderator who can firmly guide the meeting
The most important tip of all is to find a moderator, team leader, or mentor who can guide the meeting to where it needs to go. This person needs to have a sense of what should be talked about in the meeting and how information can be communicated to the team in the most beneficial way. If you don’t have anyone who can do this, the meeting will probably not turn out the best.
Healthy team meetings are ones that have developed skills in the areas of trust, conflict, commitment, accountability, and results. Each student should feel comfortable expressing their views on how the robot should look, or what specific items should be on the website without being shut down by others who are in leadership positions. Of course there is always conflict, that can’t be avoided, so it should handled in the right way. Find a leader who can handle and delicate between all the heated opinions and debates.