17 Terrific Tips for Meaningful Meetings
Many people believe “meet” is a four-letter word. It doesn’t have to be that way! Effective meetings will build a cohesive organization, facilitate an exchange of business-building ideas, nurture individual development, and strengthen client partnerships. Here are fundamental practices to create meaningful meetings in your organization.
- Four main types of internal meetings – monthly state-of-the-office meetings; weekly or bi-weekly department meetings; stand up huddles; one-on-one meetings.
- State-of-the-office meetings. Same day and time each month for breakfast or lunch. Fast-paced, concise agenda covers company overview and update by top management, two-minute department briefings, employee news and recognition, open forum to communicate what’s new and what’s happening.
- Department meetings. Primary function is to inform and learn. Goals and results are reviewed. Recognize and praise performance.
- Stand-up huddles. Use this brief, informal communication method to keep people and initiatives on track when looking to achieve a specific goal.
- One-on-one meetings between manager and employee. Monthly meeting to keep communication lines open.
- Meeting room essentials are post-it flip chart and markers, quality voice technology for call-in participants, technology to project documents for group viewing. Paper flip charts are recommended because they can be saved and rehung.
- If a sit-down meeting, have enough chairs for all. If a table is used, it’s best if all can be seated around the table avoiding perimeter seating.
- Change the meeting environment frequently to promote engagement and new ideas.
- Establish Rules of Engagement and keep them visible. Suggested guidelines include silence and/or put away mobile devices; no sidebars; put skepticism aside; love new ideas for five minutes; critique ideas, not people; allow all to be heard.
- Assign a meeting leader on a rotating basis. The leader sets the agenda, assures proper meeting room set up and materials, is the first to arrive, and presents a portion of the program.
- Start and end on time. If another meeting is needed for further discussion, set another meeting time.
- Create and follow an agenda that states allotted times. Change the order frequently. Have a set agenda item requiring each person to contribute one of the following: service success story, sales success story, or technology tip.
- To encourage discussion, suggestions, and solutions, have employees share their ideas with a partner or in a small group before asking for group input. Post all ideas on a flip chart for all to see, reflect, and build on what’s been said.
- Assign a note taker on a rotating basis. If needed, notes are distributed. Follow up on pertinent items should be the first agenda item at the next meeting.
- Remote workers. Remember to invite them! Have tech equipment in place that supports back-and-forth communication.
- Invite a client to a meeting to speak about his or her experience working with your business.
- Start a book club. Assign an easy-to-read business book and discuss assigned chapters at each meeting. Consider having a separate book club that mixes departments and helps break down silos.
Click Here for instructions on how to start a book club and book recommendations.
Emily Huling, CIC, CMC helps the insurance industry create top-performing sales, service, and leadership organizations. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She is the author of Great Service Sells, Selling from the Inside, and Service Selling Supercharge. For information on learning materials and consulting services and to subscribe to her free monthly newsletter, visit www.sellingstrategies.com.