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Team Huddles: Do It Right in 5 Simple Steps

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At first glance, a team huddle or business huddle seems pretty straightforward – they’re just terms for a meeting, right? Well, not precisely, huddles are spontaneous and have other characteristics that make them special meetings.

Team huddles are more focused on a specific task and ensuring it remains relevant and actionable by the team.

Business Huddles

Business huddles or group huddles are fast-paced, organized, and to-the-point. Your scheduled business, team, or project meetings may cover many topics, whereas a huddle affirms the group’s focus on a specific outcome.

A business huddle will immediately refresh all participants on the actions required and why they’re needed, i.e., to achieve a SMART goal.

Sports analogy of a group huddle

A good sports analogy is the timeouts. During a basketball game, teams will call a timeout. Why. To disrupt the focus of the opposing team. But also to get every player to concentrate on the plays needed to win the game. Therefore group huddles are intermediate pauses between project sprints. They are meant to be part of a very effective time management system – and by extension, a highly functioning team or business.

How Business Huddles Differ From Most Meetings

A team huddle is a lot of what a good meeting should be – but not everything. Shouldn’t all meetings be quick and focused on fewer topics for higher productivity? Yes. Business huddles have no thorough explanations like you get with scheduled long meetings. Plus, there are no half-hour time limits and no roundabout Q&A sessions.

Anatomy of the Business Huddle

By better understanding the anatomy and purpose of business huddles, you can drastically change how you and your company communicate internally.

What are the five features of a business huddle?

1. Nothing But the Bare Minimum

 If anything, huddle meetings should be defined by their simplicity. The rules of a good huddle meeting are:

  • Have everyone relevant to the current project present.
  • Stick to something everyone is involved in.
  • Don’t go over old details or waste time on recaps.
  • Make sure to clarify those huddle meetings are for the kind of questions team members can’t answer themselves.

It’s deceptively simple – a good huddle meeting foregoes everything and anything that could cause bloat or kill the fast-paced flow needed to keep a meeting going and finish it in 10-15 minutes.

2. Technologically Advanced

Team huddles could fail if your business requires all participants to meet in person. Imagine how challenging it would be to schedule the meeting while there’s still the momentum to inspire action.

Remember, the group huddle is spontaneous, and its role is to motivate and encourage action, so opportunities to achieve goals are taken.

Remote working has enabled emerging technologies that make the business huddle successful. Now we have video conferencing and other collaboration tools, these short sharp meetings can happen at a moment’s notice, and they’re desired by all attendees as they are quick.

Video conferencing

The video conferencing technology delivers high-quality video in real time without latency.  Everyone in the business huddle can receive and share information in real-time.

Plus, video like Zoom is much more engaging than communicating over the phone or congregating too many people in a single conference room. Plus, there is no reason to defer a business huddle as it can occur at any time, and it’s quick, so attendees are focused and productive – probably to get it over with quickly. 🙂

3. Timed and Quantified

Business huddle meetings are so short there is no time to waste. Therefore creating a sense of urgency in the huddle meeting is achieved by measuring the time. While many things in life shouldn’t be rushed or pressured, the business huddle is not one of them.

The mandate for all group huddle participants is to turn up and be present. This isn’t a moment of leisurely lounging where you get to sit back with a muffin and some coffee and talk over a PowerPoint presentation. The business huddle is a 10-15 minute breakdown of what you have to do, the team’s goals, and any pertinent questions, and then it’s back to work.

There is a lot of energy in huddle meetings, so they’re motivating. Plus, when they’re on a timer, huddle meetings keep everyone alert and aware of what’s been said and what’s required of them.

4. Frequency

Don’t be afraid to call spontaneous group huddles.  Trust your intuition that your team needs your leadership and input to get a task done.  Also, schedule regular daily or weekly business huddles so your employees and workers can share their thoughts and ideas and you can provide regular feedback.  Transparency in communication is key to minimizing conflicts and improving productivity.  Your business huddles are a critical tool for both.

5. Your Huddle

The last step to an effective business huddle is recognizing that it’s up to you to take the concept and refine it into something you can all run with.

Following the general rules of the huddle will tackle ineffective daily meetings for teams with highly high communication and time management standards.

Make your business huddles your own.  There is no fixed way of hosting these short, sharp meetings.  Use these tips and let us know how you get on.

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