Business meetings are an essential part of all enterprises’ success. Communication is central to the achievement of any strategy and will ultimately have the greatest influence on how close a firm is to the ethos of its mission statement.
This viewpoint is one that is long-standing, but unfortunately there are some executives who have taken the notion a little too far. Attempting to hold huge company-wide meetings on a weekly or even daily basis could well prove more detrimental than beneficial to a business’s fortunes.
Some managers could occasionally be accused of having a knee-jerk reaction to any issues that arise. Just because everyone in the company might need access to a certain piece of information doesn’t mean that they all need to be assembled to take it in simultaneously.
Especially with larger businesses, there is unlikely to be an occasion when attending a meeting at an allotted time will conveniently fit in with everyone’s schedule. Those who are most severely interrupted could well become disenchanted if their workload is sent off-kilter.
Even if an issue such as new departmental objectives or the need for employee feedback arises and seems urgent, it is best practice to check the schedules of those that need to attend before a time and date is decided upon.
Make your meetings an event
To use the analogy of TV news, research has indicated the more someone is repeatedly exposed to the same news story on the television without any significant new developments, the less interested they become.
The same could definitely be said for business meetings. Constantly dragging employees in to listen to the same old rhetoric about where the company is going will begin to grate and will no doubt be met with some uninspiring reactions.
However, making a business meeting a flagship event that puts perhaps one day every quarter aside to bring everyone together is likely to have a far more desired effect.
The rest of the time, there are a number of other measures that can be put in place to ensure that everyone is still on the same page – something that has been helped in no small part by technology.
For years the conference call has been the go-to method of directly speaking to multiple colleagues at the touch of a button, but the effectiveness of this approach has always been questioned.
The main gripe is that callers cannot see who they are talking to, but may have the opinions of five or six participants to take in. Unless those on the line have an uncanny knack for voice recognition, they must either guess or constantly ask who is making a certain point.
Either way, this is a recipe for misunderstandings and a process that may well end up taking twice as long as it should have done.
But technology has brought with it facilities like Skype and Google Hangouts, which allow the user to see everyone they are speaking to, as if they were in a room together.
Although occasional hitches like insufficient bandwidth or issues with microphones can slightly hinder the process, the use of tools like these also adds an extra dimension to the collaboration with colleagues because of the interpretations that can be taken from body language and facial expressions.
The advances that have been made in cloud computing in recent years mean that it is now far easier to connect a large number of computers to the same network and easily create content that can be shared by all those at a company.
One of the most prominent examples is Google Drive, which, rather than creating perishable files that must be manually saved to a computer’s hard drive, ensures instead that everything is automatically saved and can be shared with whole networks.
This can solve a host of problems that have long been the bane of many office workers’ lives. Most pertinently, it is no longer the case that employees constantly compose near-identical and potentially confusing emails to send each other documents.
Similarly, those that can’t help but take their work away with them no longer have to rely on a USB pen drive to get their documents from A to B. With it being so easy to disseminate this information to up to hundreds of people at a time, executives are finding that the elaborate nature of dedicated meetings needn’t be faced so frequently.
When you do hold a meeting, get it right!
Despite these fantastic innovations, there are still some things that only a physical meeting will solve. But to get the best out of these occasions, planning is key. A detailed schedule and comprehensive list of everyone in attendance is a must, but the venue could prove just as critical.
Considering hiring a specially designed event space from a third party could offer an optimised environment that simply is not on offer back at the company’s HQ. If physical meetings are being held a lot less than they once were, then it is absolutely imperative to make sure that you get the best out of them when they do take place.
Posted by Andrew Issott