time management

Employee Communication: Manage the Number of Meetings You Attend


You can radically reduce the number of meetings you attend and increase the amount of work that gets done.

~ Harvard Business Review

"Do you really need to hold that meeting?" asks Elizabeth Grace Saunders, author of How to Invest Your Time Like Money.

Employee communication is essential for the workplace to operate smoothly and to develop employee engagement. For any organization larger than 2 people, inevitably the question arises: should we waste time on meetings? As a business grows and changes, internal communication needs become greater while available time lessens. For businesses big and small, for-profit and non-profit, if and how to schedule meetings is an important part of growing your business. Typically, meetings are scheduled when someone in a leadership role needs to:

  • share information
  • solicit input and feedback
  • brainstorm

Technology has dramatically and forever changed the ways organizations can conduct effective meetings.

5 basic ways to conduct a meeting:

1. Texting

Group texts are a simple and efficient way to communicate information to a group of people and solicit input that everyone can read. Be sure that all people invited to a group text meeting have a smart phone and can both read and post to the group. Text meetings are most efficient for very short meetings with very precise topics: people can easily get lost and confused by an ongoing text meeting.

2. Email

Email meetings are a good way to conduct a short meeting when all participants cannotparticipate at the same time. By using the Reply All feature, all employees on the mail chain can participate in the conversation, regardless of their location or time zone.

3. Phone Calls

Phone call meetings are an effective way to get everyone together at the same time to hear the same information and solicit input. Phone meetings can cause problems when participants are multi-tasking (ie not paying attention); and it can be difficult to know who is speaking, or when it is time to speak without interrupting another participant.

4. Video Calls

Skype, group Face-Time, Hang-Outs and other group voice call tools make it easy to have group meetings. Seeing participants on a video conference call can build relationships and cutdown on multi-tasking. Poor WiFi signals can be frustrating when participants are on the road.

5. Face-to-Face Meetings

Meetings conducted in person are valued and viewed as important if face-to-face meetings are a part of your overall meeting strategy, not your only type of meeting. When your business is small and everyone works at the same location and during the same hours, day in and day out, it can be easy and efficient to organize a weekly and even daily team update.

Whether your meeting is in person, or via text, make sure your meeting is effective.

Tips for Conducting a Meeting

1. Make sure to invite the right people: Only invite attendees who have a specific role in the meeting topic, not everyone who could be impacted by the topic.

2. Set and keep a meeting time frame: Scheduling a meeting from 2-2:30pm is ineffective if most of the participants don't arrive until 2:10pm, and the meeting drags on to 3pm. Set and keep meeting time limits.

3. Set an agenda: Every meeting should have a clearly communicated purpose. Everyone attending should know why they're attending, and arrive prepared to listen and to contribute.

4. Identify a meeting manager: For every meeting someone must be identified to manage the meeting, including keeping everyone on topic and keeping track of the time.

5, Follow-up: After the meeting, provide attendees with written updates and outcomes as a result of the meeting.

Employee communication is a critical part of building a successful organization and developing a committed workforce. Developing a meeting plan is an important part of your internal communications strategy.

For More Information on Conducting Productive Meetings:
Forbes: Why Face-to-Face Meetings are So Important
SmallBizTrends: Why Face-to-Face Meeting Still Matter