It’s simple to believe that once an event has concluded, the work will follow suit, but this isn’t the case. A debrief meeting is an effective way to consider an incident as a whole, acknowledging both company-wide successes and failures. By using these, you can assist companies in creating fresh, important event strategies based on the analysis of participant feedback.
In this article, we’ll examine what debrief meetings are and how to conduct a productive one.
What is a Debrief Meeting?
Debrief meetings are what they sound like: it’s a term for a meeting held after an activity, event, or project. It gives a team the chance to discuss what went well, what didn’t, how they can improve, and what will happen next. Once the project is finished, debriefing meetings allow for more open dialogue. Even if the project was completely successful and achieved its objective with a deadline and a budget in place, holding a debrief meeting still enables people to share their thoughts and ideas for the future.
Every team member has a chance to speak during the meeting, enabling everyone to acknowledge and celebrate successes. The meeting facilitator makes notes of what each team member says so they can later address everyone’s ideas. The meeting’s facilitator is typically a neutral party who was not involved in the project to promote fair discussion.
When Should Debrief Meetings Be Scheduled?
The kind of project you’re working on, how far along it is in development, and how frequently you hold debrief meetings all play a big role in how often you hold them. Before you and your team can decide how frequently to debrief, try holding these meetings once per week as a general rule of thumb. The best way to decide how often you should hold debrief meetings is to ask your team what they believe would work best.
There are situations in which you’ll only need to debrief after significant project milestones, others in which you’ll only need to debrief as a project is coming to an end, and still others in which you’ll need to host a debrief every other day. Determine the duration of your meetings through trial and error. For instance, if you debrief every day, you might only need a 20-minute debrief; if you meet once a month, you might need an hour. You can make sure you’re getting the most out of your debrief by talking with your team about the frequency and length of the meeting.
How to Run An Effective Debrief Meeting?
Schedule a Meeting Sooner Rather Than Later
To ensure that the time is reserved in your team’s calendars, decide in advance how frequently you’ll hold your debrief meetings. If you and your team decide to reduce the number of meetings you hold, at least you won’t be adding any time commitments to your calendar. Before any project or event even starts, you should decide how frequently and for how long you’ll be meeting. Talk about how frequently it will be necessary to review the work you and your team are doing during the planning stages of any given project.
Prepare a Meeting Agenda
Make a meeting agenda template that you and your team can use as an outline and manual for debriefing meetings for each project, event, or subject that needs to be discussed. A productive and meaningful discussion depends on having a well-planned agenda for the meeting. The likelihood of having a productive meeting increases significantly when an effective meeting agenda is prepared in advance. It is crucial to prepare a meeting agenda in advance of the gathering; this cannot be emphasized enough. Include key points, talking points, supporting materials, decisions, and action items in your agenda to make it as effective as possible.
Collaborate on the Talking Points
A great meeting agenda also guarantees that each team member has an opportunity to participate in the conversation. Your team can arrive prepared with suggestions, queries, and things to think about because they will be aware of the talking points and action items in advance. Before the meeting, encourage everyone on the team to add talking points to the agenda. To guarantee that each meeting participant actively participates and is engaged, you can even designate specific owners for specific sections of your meeting template. When your talking points are established, make sure to stick to them and leave any side conversations in the parking lot for another time.
Ask Open-ended Questions
Ask open-ended questions to get a true sense of how your team feels about a particular project (and to get their thoughts, observations, and suggestions). The team has the chance to work together on the tasks at hand and the decisions that need to be made as a result of open-ended questions’ tendency to generate more conversation. By posing inquiries of this nature, you show that you are interested in what your staff has to say and that you value their suggestions. The discussions that result from open-ended questions are advantageous because they present a chance to absorb new information from others.
Change the Meeting Format
Going around the table one by one, and sharing your team’s lessons learned during the meeting isn’t the only topic that can be discussed during a debriefing. Your debriefing sessions won’t likely be successful if they are dull. Consider including additional tools, such as whiteboards, surveys, Kanban boards, and visual aids, to enhance the effectiveness and significance of your debrief. Your employees will be more engaged and likely to participate in the discussions if you include these elements in your meetings, which will make them more interesting. Change up the format of your meetings if you find that your usual setup isn’t working or the group’s energy level has been low. Do not be afraid to deviate from a rigid structure.
Capture Lessons Learned
You and your team will have a point of reference to help with memory recall if you summarize the key points from your debrief meetings. Sharing your lessons learned with your clients, customers, and even the general public is also possible with this summary.
Document Actionable Insights
The action items that come up in your debriefing meetings should be especially important to record. This establishes a clear path forward for the project to advance according to a predetermined timeline and holds each member of the team accountable and responsible for the tasks delegated to them. With Fellow, you can assign, visualize, and prioritize each item on your meeting to-do list in one location. Throughout the meeting, you can delegate specific tasks to people with deadlines. After the meeting is over, you can also rearrange your to-do list in Fellow’s action items page and cross off tasks that have been assigned to you as you complete them. Additionally, the procedure is automated, which makes it even simpler and carries over any unfinished action items into your subsequent meeting.
Share the Learnings With Stakeholders
Consider the people who could gain from what you’ve discovered during your debrief meetings. After that, you can think about how you’ll share your knowledge with others. You should also think about how you’ll keep this information and use it in the future. It is crucial that you and your team have access to the lessons learned so that you can use them as a reference in the future.
Tips for Running a Debrief Meeting
Make It Clear What’s Going to Happen
Ensure that everyone is aware of the situation and the reason they are there. For instance, state up front that this meeting is just like any other meeting, with a few extra questions at the end. This makes sure that everyone in attendance has feedback about how well or poorly they performed.
Ensure One Person Doesn’t Dominate
Make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to discuss their experiences during the activity or project under discussion. Don’t allow one person to rule everything. If someone has something significant or fascinating to say, they might feel at ease enough to speak even if they don’t normally do so. Instead of just having one person speak while others wait patiently for their turn, which never comes, this way, everyone gains from hearing more points of view.
An essential step in organizing and hosting an event is the event debrief. You can get input from your team to make your next event even better. You will be able to host a productive event debrief that advances you and your team if you adhere to the steps we’ve outlined.