Every business wants to increase productivity. One important way to do that is to increase the efficiency and productivity of meetings. That can be done by changing the emphasis you place on the various types of meeting communication.
Types of Meeting Communication
We’ve identified five types of meeting communication:
- Debating, Decision Making, Point Proving
- Info Sharing
- Sharing Oneself
In most meetings, the meeting facilitator allows the first three types of communication to dominate the discussion. The problem is that they don’t drive results. While it’s important to have those types of communication with your team, they should not be the focus of your meetings.
Communication Outside of Meetings
There are other, more efficient ways to have these types of communication with your team. If you need to share information with the group, send an email. If you want to share your feelings or thoughts with one or a few people, have a quick huddle.
The purpose of a meeting is to reach a conclusion. To focus on that outcome, meetings should be effective, efficient and require accountability. Of course, you also want to keep your team happy, but do endless, unproductive, boring meetings do that?
One-on-one and more informal communication around the office can help make employees feel appreciated on a more personal level.
Key Steps to a Winning Meeting Strategy
- Determine what you want to accomplish with the meeting.
- Invite only those people who are needed to facilitate the meeting and those who will be impacted by it. The more extraneous people are included, the more likely it is that these other types of communications will dominate. You’ll also be wasting people’s valuable time.
- Have a detailed agenda with time frames for each section and stick to it.
- Assign a group facilitator or leader who can keep the meeting moving and keep the focus on what you want to accomplish. The leader or facilitator needs to be someone who isn’t afraid to step in and get people back on track if they wander too far into one of the less productive types of communication. This can be done by moving these topics to an “offline” conversation involving only the necessary people.
- The leader will also ensure that requests are clear so that the person who has made the promise to deliver understands it. He or she also needs to make sure that those who made promises have or receive what they need to do their assigned job.
- Finally, the leader should send an email recapping everyone’s responsibilities to all concerned parties after the meeting.
Obviously, there are some types of meetings where it is necessary to go beyond the focus on requests and promises. Some business owners like to take time with their teams on a quarterly basis to review company performance and discuss goals for the future. However, these can also be handled with efficiency by sticking to an agenda.