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Effective Staff Meetings: Roadblocks or Bridges to Success

By: Thomas W. McKee

Thomas W. McKee is president of Advantage Point Systems, Inc., a staff development and change management firm. Thomas is an author, motivational speaker, trainer and leader. He has spoken to over 1/2 million people and taught the Advantage Point System method of change management to over 100,000 managers in companies like Hewlett Packard, Ernst and Young, Procter and Gamble, the California Department of General Services, and the IRS. ; For information about the Advantage Point System of managing change see www.advantagepoint.com.

The goal of a staff meeting is not just communication, decision making or problem solving. The meeting process should send members away with a sense of energy and commitment. How do you do that?

Americans hold over 15 million meetings a day and spend over $30 billion a year on meetings; however, most Americans consider meetings a waste of time and boring. The business staff meeting is one of the untapped resources for energy, enthusiasm, communication, education and synergy.

Check the following "agree disagree" statements and check your answers with the lead article. Then try our discussion starter at your next staff meeting.

Effective Staff Meetings
Agree Disagree
______ ______ Meetings need an inclusion activity to set the mood.
______ ______ Staff meetings need official minutes.
______ ______ If you consider a meeting a waste of time, you should not attend.
______ ______ Staff meetings should be held on a regular basis.
______ ______ If you want to make a point at the meeting, sit next to the leader.
______ ______ You should mix meetings and meals.


Meetings need an inclusion activity to set the mood.

Agree: A mover and shaker (often the one running the business meeting) likes to get to the business at hand immediately. However, the mood of a staff meeting is set in the first few minutes. Ice breakers are a great way to start the meeting. This can be as simple as giving everyone 30 seconds to express their expectations of the meeting. The information on the next page is included for a staff discussion. Copy the article and have each one read it. Then ask discussion questions such as, "Do you agree, disagree? Have you felt the impact of this study in our business? What can we learn about our marketing plan?"

Staff meetings should include official minutes.

Disagree: Board meetings need official minutes. Staff meetings don't. When significant decisions are made, these need to be recorded in an official staff manual. 

If you consider a meeting to be a waste of time, you should not attend.

Disagree: If you are invited, attend. Try to figure out how you can get the most out of that meeting and how it can be of value to you. Look at every meeting as an opportunity to fulfill your dream.

Staff meetings should be held on a regular basis.

Agree: Without regular communication, team members lose momentum, confidence and focus. They become distracted and diverted. Regular staff meetings provide great potential for a focused staff.

If you want to make a point at the meeting, sit next to the leader.

Disagree: Sit opposite the leader so that you can talk directly to the leader and other members of the staff also.

You should mix meetings with meals.

Agree: Milo O. Frank, in his book How to Run a Successful Meeting in Half the Time says you should mix business with meals if your objective is to establish a social as well as a business relationship. But what meal?
Breakfast is best, lunch is longer, at dinner you're dimmer!" -- Milo O. Frank
Frank says that breakfast is best because everyone is fresher and has something else to do; therefore, the meeting is usually short. He feels that at luncheon meetings you have a tendency to waste a lot of time ordering food and traveling. 

Dinner can be the best or worst the best for the social approach and the worst for a specific business objective because when you are tired, it is hard to think clearly.

Discover the art of the meeting.

Great meetings take planning and timely execution. As a meeting planner you are responsible to see that the proper mood is set, and the purpose is met. Meetings do not have to be boring or unproductive.

© 1998 Advantage Point Systems Inc.

Other Articles by Thomas W. McKee

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.

 

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