Teambuilding 101: Effective Meeting Communication Builders
While there is a parade of consultants out there that would have you believe that teambuilding lies in weekend seminars where adults play games, it’s a fair bet that the staff would actually like to have the time off instead of playing games. So how do you create a better communication culture within your workplace? Effective communications go both ways, and can help staff to feel more engaged and committed to their company and projects. With very simple tips and tools, you can improve communication, and according to Communication World magazine reduce turnover and absenteeism, and watch your bottom line improve.
Meetings: Cornerstones of Communication
When it comes to having face time, there is no substitute for a meeting. Whether it’s brainstorming, collaborating on a project, solving a problem, or discussing new ideas or opportunities, there are subjects that need a bunch of people working together collaboratively instead of playing phone tag or the confusion of an email chain. Think about what would happen if you spent about half an hour writing out a lengthy memo, then printed out and gave 10 copies to members of your team with a request for feedback. Those copies would straggle back in, with edits and comments, and then you would need to try to integrate them. Instead, it would be quicker and more effective to call your team together and work collaboratively on a new single document.
Even when you can’t all be in the same room, it’s easier to get people together via videoconferencing. When you are working with remote team members and other off-site personnel, using a cloud-based videoconferencing app can bring everyone together for valuable face time. However, you also need other features in a videoconferencing app to ensure a smooth experience. Bluejeans collaboration tools allow you to share media and documents across platforms as diverse as your remote workers’ mobile phones and tablets or even a Polycom or Cisco room-based system.
Everyone has been to so many bad meetings, that it’s hard to remember how to hold a good one. There is always that one meeting that stands out in your mind that had no defined goal or ending time. Verizon’s recent white paper shows the love-hate relationship that we all have with meetings. Over 90 percent of respondents said that they love meetings, and value the chance to participate despite the fact that an equal number daydream during meetings and 39 percent admitted to dozing off.
However, respondents also said that they were required to attend an average of 60 per month and could not in fact attend all the meetings that require their presence. Meetings were also a singular factor in stress both at home and in the workplace. The inability to meet personal commitments outside of work, and interruptions to workflow caused considerable stress in the majority of respondents.
Here are a few simple tips to help you clear the bar:
- 1. Have a purpose. This should be the first rule to calling a meeting. Create an agenda around that purpose and list the subjects to be discussed. If your colleagues are particularly volatile, also list subjects that will not be discussed.
- 2. Next to each agenda item, indicate your colleagues’ roles and what they have to do with the subject under discussion.
- 3. Don’t invite the entire office. You need enough people for diversity of opinion, but not so many people that the reason you’re calling the meeting gets lost in tangents and interruptions. Only include those who are critical to the subject at hand.
- 4. Be open to hearing other people’s perspectives and create an atmosphere where people feel comfortable enough to speak. Effective communication can help you reduce employee disengagement, which, according to a recent Gallup poll affects more than two thirds of American workers.
- 5. It’s tough to cut someone off, but there are times when you absolutely must do so. When people are rambling on or going off on tangents, you are moving away from the original purpose of the meeting. Instead, you move forward with the offer to get together and talk about that subject later.
- 6. Don’t close out a topic until everyone has caught up. Make a careful transition from topic to topic by asking if everyone is finished with the current subject. Also make note that the meeting is being recorded and that participants may play it back at a later time, as well as review documents in media that have been uploaded.
- 7. End the meeting on time and positively, then do a follow-up with your at attendees to make sure that everyone ended on the same page. Make sure to have a chain of accountability and to implement whatever next steps were agreed upon. Also solicit feedback from participants about the meeting, including what could be improved to make the next meeting a better one.