There is no substitute for effective communication with employees on a regular basis. For this reason, a regularly scheduled meeting is being adopted as a best practice in businesses throughout the globe. The bigger business gets, the more it compartmentalizes specific functions of operations, sales, collections, production, etc. The purpose, style, and tone of the meetings may vary from one company to another, but there are several key ingredients to managing a meeting in a way that gets results. There are several do’s and do not’s that every attendee of the meeting must adhere to.
Do demand punctuality. Regularly scheduled meetings must be conducted with an open door format in terms of communication between the leaders and the led. That does not mean that the door should stay open for late arrivals. Establishing a stringent roll-call with a zero tolerance for late arrivals will help establish a tone of seriousness for the agenda of the meeting. Time is of the essence, and everyone needs to arrive on time with no distractions. Set an example. If an employee is out of the area on assignment, set up an opportunity to attend through an online web conference application like Skype, Google Hangouts, or Face Time. The meetings will only be as important as the organization makes them.
Do come to the meeting prepared. Management has to come to the meeting with clear objectives laying out a plan of action with goals to be followed up with on the next meeting. A meeting without a mission is like a horse with no head. You can beat it as hard as you want, but you will never get where you are going.
Do give employees an opportunity to speak. Management is expected to have a plan, but they are not expected to be omniscient. Employees will discover opportunities to improve practices that only they would know related to their particular job description. Compartmentalization creates opportunities for redundant processes and break downs in procedures. Opening the floor for guided discussion will help identify issues that need attention. Opening the floor will also give employees an opportunity to ask questions that other employees may have that another employee may be afraid to ask.
Do not turn the meeting into a gripe session. Public punishment is never a good policy under any circumstance, and a weekly meeting should never be used to criticize an employee. Retraining over an issue from the policy manual with the entire staff is a good way to promote good behaviors if there is an issue of misconduct that needs addressed, but not at the expense of a specific person. There has to be a focused effort on the issues and turning them into opportunities while avoiding unnecessary criticism.
Do not set unrealistic goals. Setting goals that are realistic and can be achieved are essential to establishing a tone of success. Goals should not be too easy so as to be a mockery either, a strict balance must be achieved. On the other side of the equation, unrealistic goals can create stress or stifle productivity. Employees and team members need to experience success.
Do not get sidetracked. Set an agenda for the meeting and account for discussion by allotting specific time for employees to have the floor. Chaos cannot control the tempo. The employees cannot hijack the meeting with peripheral issues. The key to a successful meeting is assessing the prior week’s progress and laying out the immediate goals while highlighting the longer term goals.
The effectiveness of a weekly meeting will be measured by both the goals it sets and in the goals it achieves success. While meeting rules must be hard and fast, the mood must be professional and at the same time light. Attendance is critical, even if through a web meeting. There are several corporations that integrate multiple location meetings through web browser training while several locations are logged in with corporate headquarters personnel taking the lead. The ability to make swift changes in policies across a broad geographic area is much easier with the new technological advances that make the management of logistics a lot simpler. The do’s and do not’s are not all inclusive and the final word, only a guideline for basic principles that have proven to be effective. With enough trial and error in a sustained period and the right preparation, weekly meetings can become exciting formats for future success that employees buy into. Getting employees committed, focused, and involved in the organizations success is ultimately the end goal of the meeting.
The author, Ray Donato, is manager for a large corporate office, and frequently finds himself trying to keep everything organized and on task. To help better improve office efficiency, he has moved everything paperless, including fax machines, and for the best online faxing service he compared various providers by going to http://www.findafax.com. You can learn more about Ray on Google+.