A colleague was fond of saying, “when all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.” Author and humor columnist Dave Barry once said, “If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be 'meetings.’”
It’s easy to agree with both sentiments. But I’ve used the following tactics to hold effective staff meetings:
USA Today, not Wall Street Journal – give them useful tidbits and make them glad they came
News They Can Use: Share information from around the company that your team needs to know – i.e. reminders about HR or benefits deadlines, news of staff changes outside the group, heads up about a policy change or upcoming project, and anything you think your team would like or need to know.
I’s & A’s: Ahead of your staff meeting, ask each member of your team to prepare a run-down of issues and advisements (I’s & A’s) related to their projects. Short bullets about noteworthy progress or challenges is sufficient, and only for projects that have an update since the last I’s & A’s. Compile and share with the team.
At the meeting, ask team members to share only items that are cause for celebration, of interest to others, or that the team can help with. Let team members catch up on routine updates by reading the I’s & A’s vs. discussing in the meeting. This allows time for more in-depth conversations about items that must be reviewed or resolved as a group.
Variety is the spice of life and staff meetings – keep it interesting
Guest Topics/Speakers: Ask team members to take turns leading team meetings and presenting topics and guest speakers from other parts of the organization. This broadens everyone’s perspective and provides useful information.
The Beat: Assign each team member a news “beat;” to be the team subject matter expert on a specific area of the business and share brief updates. This expands everyone’s knowledge and shortens the learning curve for new hires.
Team building, not just a team meeting – make it fun, make it family
Safe Zone: Sometimes, what’s most needed is time to vent frustration, be silly, or just talk – especially when managing through change. It’s time well spent for heads to clear and people to bond.
Celebrate Everything: Give the team context around any special effort or personal victory related to updates being shared. Have a lunch meeting occasionally -- with more lunch than meeting -- and toast victories, big and small.
If you found this helpful, please share it with a colleague. If you want to know more about building a marketing team, give me a call, send me a note, or let’s meet. You’ll be glad you did.