Thursday, 14 December 2017

To 'meet' or not to 'meet' !

 “Office meetings” seem to be the latest to have come under the scanner in the name of productivity hacks and energy saves... I am talking in context of regular staff meetings in workplace proceedings ... There seem to be more naysayers these days who portray ‘Meetings’ as one big dent when it comes to time and energy well spent. Some say there is no clear agenda, some say the discussions are never followed up with action, while others feel its sheer waste of time and of expensive resources like meeting room space, infrastructure, and many are of the view that it never wins all round participation and hence a useless exercise!
And hence, we see advice coming in from all corners to counter these or altogether do away with them, with an End of Story stamp!
So then, where does meaningful group communication begin!!


I ,for one, am a strong supporter of communication at all levels– I believe communication alone helps thrive relationships – personal or at work, and hence Meetings must never stop, perhaps should happen as often as possible! But one can’t totally ignore all the above symptoms which truly highlight the shortfalls too …

There are many ways in which leaders and managers who often conduct or preside over meetings can make it more fruitful. The fact that there is increasing awareness to make it one, will in itself initiate relevant measures, I hope!

Recent posts from colleagues about conducting meetings in informal and casual environment or even off sites to facilitate change and positivity are indeed good boosters; as much as the need for preparation, planning and participation of all in the agenda beforehand; keeping the discussion relevant and to-the-point with tools to monitor follow-up and progress during and later; and the use of technology in conducting virtual meets at times, thus reducing costs - all can be considered. And should be!

My intention of putting this post as a summary is also to remind one and all that meetings do serve important purpose and should indeed be given their due especially in the modern world of technology and messaging through WhatsApp etc.., where as I had recently shared –  “in-person interactions and even telephone- conversations catch us feeling scared and alarmed as to what could be the emergency and why couldn’t we be alerted through a ‘zero-cost typed-message ‘…..instead ! “

The personal touch and the authentic connection is dying a slow death.., we mask the original emotions and intentions with the convenient emojis and crisp acronyms..

Assuming that with all good intent and planning, meetings do take off – in such a case, they can in fact be the most potent tool for any organisation to foster desired culture and alignment of employees with the organisation’s goals.  Throughout my corporate stint leading sales and customer service teams, I can’t imagine how we could ever have navigated our way through challenges had we as a team, not been meeting often. How could I have known my colleagues and their challenges as much as their strengths and talents, had I not been interacting with them ..., how could they have known me beyond my daily instructions and emails, but for the get– togethers! Even now, though I work more with virtual teams, free lancers and collaborate online, frequent meetups through whatever medium possible, is what keeps us connected and totally clued in.
In fact, I have known, many managers, leaders and few of my own supervisors giving new shades to the team meeting exercise by inviting collective ideas on deciding agenda, inviting guest speakers or members from other departments sometimes to share knowledge, encouraging discussions on diverse topics, conducting quizzes, group activities and as such making the daily meets the most sought after event of the day!
Some of the key areas where I believe meetings contribute significantly apart from discussing the main business agenda are –

1)A good platform for organisation culture to be in action, grow and thrive.

         2)The best way to gauge the barometer in terms of where exactly the team is heading        and if everyone’s on the right course.

     3)An opportunity to invite ideas and opinions from one and all thus fostering collective action, creativity, innovation and feedback.

  4)  An opportunity to further team spirit with greater focus on diversity and inclusion.   

5)    An opportunity for a leader to know and observe his team in a setting different from regular work and likewise for the team members as well, in getting to know their leader. 

6)    An opportunity for juniors and subordinates to voice their ideas and add on to their     leader’s vision.

7)    An opportunity for one and all to interact and know better their team mates.

8)    An opportunity to become aware of and further develop skills like assertiveness, communication, speaking and presentation, etc. The kind of presence one brings with himself / herself in meetings very often speaks about his / her character, values and further gives ample chance to develop on collaboration, quick thinking and interpersonal skills.

9)    An opportunity to keep oneself in touch with the long term vision and values of the organisation.  

10) Meetings offer a great platform for introverts and the not so well-networked employees to find a safe place to share their voice and showcase their skills, ideas and abilities. 
11)    An opportunity to do effective analysis, consider multiple angles of any task as also the possible impacts of outside environment etc. thus gearing better towards change management.

12)   An opportunity to spot and identify talent among participating team members as also possibility for better delegation and distribution of work for future.

13)Team meetings offer a great forum for inviting ideas towards hygiene factors, employee welfare, socialising and initiatives to further cost-cutting. These are areas where, in the normal course, people generally shy away from sharing ideas but when invited to brainstorm in a group – setting, they love to pool in.
New champions and heroes normally get to see the light and emerge during such moments!

14)    One also gets to see what could be potential causes of conflict within the group, and hence to be taken up with caution.

15) Likewise, one also gets a chance to delve beneath the surface and gauge the emotional health and morale of team members, sometimes through expressions, verbal and body language, level of positivity etc. that is witnessed in group meetings and discussions.

16)  Employees who meet often and consistently take part in decision-making feel greater sense of ownership, responsibility and accountability towards action !

All in all, there can be so much more that can be achieved through well planned and executed meetings, not to be missed out the main business agenda! Meetings are in fact the torch bearers for nurturing open communication, and trust amongst team members!
So even if you don’t have a solid to-do list for which to call a meeting  right now, there’s enough discussed already that should tempt you to organise one sooner J

We have all heard of the famous quote,
A family who eats togetherstays together.

High performing and emotionally viable teams are also very often the ones who have special ties akin to a family, and hence team meetings some of them in casual setups over coffee and snacks maybe, go a long way in nurturing healthy relations and long term bonds! So don’t wait and I shall be glad to hear more about ideas on what and how to derive the best from office meetings!

 Thankyou for reading my post and I look forward to your comments !
Feel free to download an ebook that I have written to help you see the endless possibilities that Life has to offer , The Ultimate Guide to Living a life of Endless Possibilities
About the Author :
Namita is an Internationally Certified Success Coach, Career Strategist and Life Coach with ICF credentials .(International Coach Federation). She is also a Corporate Trainer, Writer and Speaker on a mission to help everyone unlock their infinite potential and build an extraordinary purposeful life.Her detailed professional profile can be viewed at Coaching and Training requests can also be routed through; ; ;; ;

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