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The Perils of the All-Employee Meeting

The higher your star rises in the company, the more meetings you will be managing. But what do you do when meetings start to leave people with more questions than answers? Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins write for the Harvard Business Review about how to bring more effective communication to meetings.

What Matters in Meeting Communication

  1. What you say
  2. How you say it
  3. Who is saying it
  4. Where you communicate

Su and Wilkins had a client who was feeling frustrated because he spent all his time in meetings with employees, yet nobody felt like they knew what was going on with the business. His solution was to directly ask employees how they could have the best communication with him, and the above points were what was uncovered. For what you say, it is important to frame your message so that everyone understands their stake with regard to the business’s current trajectory. Su and Wilkins say you need to give them something hopeful to rally around.

It will be no shock that how you say it is important as well. A static PowerPoint is going to lose people. Make personal connections with people and demonstrate empathy for them as you dictate the latest happenings in the business. Take this one step further by getting other people involved in talking about the high-level information. People like to hear from all of the leadership, to confirm there is a unified direction.

About the final point, it turned out for Su and Wilkins’ client that his employees actually wanted more all-hands meetings, but mostly for the sake of hearing from leadership on a regular basis. Su and Wilkins have this to say about it:

So the real question becomes what can a leader do beyond the meetings to make the organization feel like it’s hearing from leadership frequently and consistently? Here are some of the ideas that came up: weekly personal email from the leader, a leader’s blog or tweets, the good old fashioned “walk around” of the halls. The take home point is that frequent, small touch points make a huge difference in making others feel engaged with their leadership. And, these things add tremendously to the usual meetings.

Keeping everybody on the same page really is not so hard after all, is it? You can read the original post here: http://blogs.hbr.org/2011/03/the-perils-of-the-all-employee/

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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