While meetings in the workplace are mandatory, there are not many employees who can honestly say that these gatherings are their favorite part of the day. Employees need to have a vested interest in whatever they are doing to be engaged, and meetings are typically not one of the things that evoke that feeling.
Firms that host mandatory internal staff meetings usually do so on a recurring basis. The intervals can be monthly, every other month, quarterly, etc. There are two main reasons for the dread that comes with attending these meetings:
1. Lack of involvement – There is usually a single person or a select few persons who take part in and contribute to the meeting. The rest play the role of listeners and the effectiveness of listening varies greatly from person to person.
2. Length – Many of these meetings are way longer than they need to be as much of what is discussed can be sent in an e-mail. This leaves attendees to wonder if the meeting is necessary. Once that mindset creeps in, a mental block begins to develop that detaches one’s focus from the meeting.
Below is three ways in which you can make your staff meetings more engaging so you can promote staff interest.
Delegate Departmental Reports
The idea of this is to promote involvement of all levels of staff in attendance. These meetings usually have a time slot which is dedicated to reports from the various teams in the organization. The idea is to give a clear view of how each department is doing and to ascertain where improvements can be made. These reports are usually given by the head of the department, but do they have to be? A good involvement technique is to have a different employee from each department give the report at each meeting. Not only does this directly engage the person giving the report, but there is also a level of intrigue for other attendees that causes their attention to be held.
Remove Unnecessary Information and Sections
Meetings usually have an agenda that briefly illustrates the plan for the meeting. You are encouraged to review the meeting flow to see if everything there is necessary. As stated before, some things can be communicated with an e-mail and do not need to be in meetings.
Ensure you review your agenda to remove any unnecessary meeting phases, sections, or information prior to finalization. This improves the meeting run time and ensures that parts of the meeting don’t feel like a waste of time.
Don’t Make the Structure too Rigid
Another mistake made by many meeting organizers and those who lead meetings is keeping the atmosphere of the meetings too stringent. The intention of a staff meeting is to get certain information across to all in attendance and to potentially make some decisions that affect the business going forward. These decisions may be left up to a vote.
People tend to lose sight of the fact that none of this implies that the meetings must then follow the same flow of every traditional meeting that has ever come before it. In fact, when provisions are made to lighten the atmosphere, information that is given in the meeting is usually more well received. This is because the attention of those in attendance has been captured in an engaging manner.
Staff meetings are a necessary part of the world of work. However, their necessity does not mean that they must follow the traditional “meeting style.” This style may be what is used in bigger meetings such as Annual General Meetings (AGMs) but for the purpose of your internal staff meetings, try making use of the three tips listed above to increase interest in your meetings.