How to run meaningful internal meetings, making the business flourish and employees thrive.
Do you want employees to be up to date with the latest developments of the company, have clarity of what is expected out of them, feel motivated, appreciated, productive, and instead you get managers and executives buried in long phone calls, feeling frustrated and powerless as nothing gets done?
The bad news is that if the situation continues you will be faced with more frustration, conflicts, and exhaustion.
The good news is that it can be changed. Meetings can run smoothly, all employees can be included and engaged, solutions can be found and conflicts resolved. Here is how.
“Communication is the sister of leadership” John Adair
Business is about communication. Internal communication is vital for the smooth and effective functioning of every organization and company. The quality of internal information exchange will impact the attitude and performance of the employees, which directly translates into revenues of the company.
Step number one is being aware of the importance of internal communication and the skills required to run meetings successfully.
Effective internal communication helps ensure that all members of the organization are working collaboratively towards a common goal. It empowers employees to develop stronger relationships, trust each other, and make the right decisions. A great communications strategy can help make employees feel valued and show them that their ideas matter. Their bosses are listening; they have attention and respect. All those elements are crucial to build a motivated and engaged team.
The skillset required for running brilliant meetings
You can be promoted to be a manager, but you are not a leader until you become recognized as one by the minds and hearts of those who work for you.
Your skills in this aspect of management will define your long-term success as a manager or executive. If you can help team members to feel included, witnessed, and become better at what they do, you’ll be a manager who people aspire to work for, and you’ll make a great contribution to your organization, too.
Running meetings is an inevitable part of leadership skills, which requires the ability to build rapport and trust, communicating clearly, listening intently, understanding others, managing time, productivity, prioritizing, delegating, motivating, conflict resolution, inspiring to achieve goals.
People differ in their abilities and skills, however, it is important to recognize what is required of a leader and then develop it accordingly.
Perhaps we are shy and do not feel comfortable giving speeches, even in front of our own team. As a result, we avoid running meetings, claiming things can get done over email or phone, only to see catastrophic results later on. As a manager and a leader, we need to lead by example, even if we have to practice and perfect certain skills. That can show our human side, and inspire others to develop as well.
Before you run the meeting
There are few things to consider before you jump into the meeting.
Firstly, defining the goal. You need to be absolutely clear WHY is the meeting held and what is the result you want to achieve. If you miss this step, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Once you know the WHY and WHAT it will be relatively easy to define WHO.
Who should be present? As important as it is to make everyone included, employees who are not directly involved with the topic of the meeting will feel bored and frustrated. Perhaps they can be informed about the outcomes of the meeting via email or by attending a separate department meeting with their leader.
Meetings are an important part of the company’s communications strategy and the frequency of meetings should be defined.
The consistency of meetings creates a framework, which creates predictability of the future and gives people a feeling of stability.
The next step of preparation for the meeting is creating an agenda.
A good agenda will allow you to generate the best meeting results by providing a framework.
Frequently employees feel unnoticed or ignored because there is no room or time for them to speak up. Space for everyone to share, contribute and express should be planned with the help of a simple framework.
Every company will have their own specifics, yet you can use this framework as guidance.
- Show and tell
- Performance and priorities
- Participate and develop
|AGENDA FRAME Subject/objective/time|
|Show and tell|
|Performance and priorities|
|Participate and develop|
1. Show and tell
Share any relevant information from the board or management. Present the outline of the meeting and what will be discussed.
Clearly communicate your expectations i.e “ I expect each meeting participant to present the current status of their developments, major challenges and what help is required”, “ I expect all sales representatives to be proactive, approaching clients without hesitation and to generate 40K sales each month”
2. Performance & priorities
Discuss priorities such as sales development, recruitment etc. These frames are to maintain individual and team performance, identify weaknesses, create room for expressing ideas, sharing issues and problems, create supportive strategies, addressing challenges of teams, define or redefine priorities.
Helpful questions: What has been your biggest achievement this month/week? What’s the biggest challenge you are currently facing?, What is stopping you?,What resources would be helpful to you right now?
3. Participate and develop
This part of the agenda is designed to create practical solutions and strategies harnessing all the skills and experience in the room.
An innovative and creative approach is welcomed, allowing quick development of ideas and refraining from judgment. The aim is to develop ideas and solutions rather than a process.
4. The last phase is room for exploration of “what if” questions and exploring innovative solutions. For example, what if a certain supplier went bankrupt? What if we lost all customer data? What if the entire sales team was ill for a week?
Few things to keep in mind
Set a time-frame for the meeting, 45 min is recommended. Whatever will not fit, will have to be addressed at separate meeting or via alternative means of communication. Such a time frame allows us to stay focused, productive, and maintain high energy during the entire time.
Inform meeting participants in advance of the purpose, agenda, and give a few tips on how to prepare to make the most out of it.
One of the ways to create a space for shy or reserved people to speak up is to create a positive atmosphere of no judgment or criticism. Encourage everyone to speak, assuring that their views are important and welcome. Ask for their opinions and listen.
In order to maximize engagement and effortlessness and to set the tone for the meeting, it’s incredibly beneficial to spread positivity and build rapport with others. Share an achievement, praise team members, appreciate the effort. Displaying gratitude is a great habit, which results in increased optimism and overall wellbeing.
I would like to thank Spanda Makt, a Transformational Coach for inspiration, and sharing valuable insights.
Do you need help dealing with an internal communication strategy?
Deal with Culture can help. Developing leadership skills and the ability to manage internal meetings can save a lot of unnecessary stress and time, which can be spent in many better ways.
Founder and CEO of Deal With Culture