Let’s be honest – the importance of meetings in business communication is now mostly forgotten and ignored.
A call for a meeting is usually silently answered with silent groans and eye rolls. Some are happy to attend any meeting to get out of what they are doing.
For the average employee, meetings are tedious, lengthy, and often a waste of their time. Most leave these kinds of meetings more frustrated than ever, demotivated, and now cramming to finish their required deliverables.
But meetings aren’t supposed to be this way. If employees dread meetings and find these business get-togethers a waste of time, then there’s something wrong.
We need to find a better, less draining way to conduct meetings – and for that, we need to get back to basics.
What Is a Meeting, Anyway?
In the corporate culture, meetings are your organization’s method of putting most, if not all, of the employees in one room.
It can be done to make announcements, recognize a job well done, let everyone know of changes, or discuss plans and operational strategies.
A meeting is conducted when you have two or more participants in the same room sharing a discussion relevant to the organization.
Are Meetings Essential?
Yes, meetings are a fundamental part of doing business because this is the perfect avenue to communicate with each member of the organization openly.
Organizations without meetings are often faced with nasty problems in miscommunication, lack of direction, and accountability – all that could have been easily solved by having a central communication event.
Meetings become the ideal platform to discuss issues affecting everyone openly. It is an excellent avenue to disseminate information and remind everyone of the goal of the organization. Without this constant communication thread, it is so easy for any organization to lose sight of its goals.
Meetings are also an essential tool to collectively share ideas for an organization’s growth and discuss problems and potential solutions.
An ideal meeting should leave employees motivated and supported, knowing that the much-needed guidance is on stand-by. It should leave people feeling secure and appreciated with their jobs, and meetings should make everybody think they are in the right place.
The importance of meetings in business communication can’t be highlighted enough, and if done right, you can create a work environment built on open communication, teamwork, and trust.
How COVID-19 Makes Meetings Even More Important
If you’ve felt a bit of a social vacuum in your life during the global pandemic, you’re certainly not alone. While many of us miss the hangout spots and friends we’ve had to avoid for so long, our workplaces were – despite all their flaws – a place to socialize too.
Several businesses run on an often-overlooked system of informal exchanges – generally shared at coffee or smoke breaks. These conversations have now become nonexistent, depriving us of the chance to connect with our coworkers and talk shop in a quick, stress-free environment.
Writing for the New York Times in March 2021, author Roxane Gay put it best:
“For all the faults of the workplace, there is a certain camaraderie that comes with life in an office. A good meeting can be energizing in a way that is hard to replicate over Zoom. We can’t head over to our favorite work friend’s office for some coffee and gossip when we need a break. It’s all Slack chats and emails and phone calls and then, whatever happens at home after work, without any distance. The work-life balance has imploded for better and worse. “
With no room for a quick chat or a short work discussion, the need for managers to schedule effective, approachable meetings is now higher than it has ever been before – not just for productivity, but to keep spirits up to ensure a cohesive, connected team.
Advantages of Meetings
Regularly conducting these gatherings have considerable advantages to your organization.
If you are still wondering about why meetings are so important as a form of communication, then these are the positives that you get from it:
- It gives the organization’s leaders the setting to share and remind the missions and goals of the business.
- Fosters open communication among everyone
- Encourages everyone to contribute to meetings in a business environment
- Let everyone become involved and heard
- Come up with creative and collaborative solutions
- Opportunity to discover new skills, talents, and resources
Components of an Ideal, Productive, and Anticipated Meeting
Sad to say, however, this is not the case for most organizations.
Meetings become stressful because anyone can be placed on the spot. No one is looking forward to it because it can quickly devolve into a fault-finding session, and by the end of it, nobody’s happy.
Stop fretting and take action! Make the changes in how you conduct your meetings by following these steps. Rest assured, you will have a forum where everyone is engaged and happy while surprisingly accomplishing many things.
Send a Calendar Invite a Day Before the Meeting
Unless it is an emergency meeting, give your employees the courtesy and time to shift their tasks and deliverables.
Attending meetings is not an excuse for them not to complete their deliverables, so give them enough notice that you will request their time on this schedule. Some would probably do extra work today or come in half an hour earlier tomorrow to accommodate the meeting.
One of the biggest issues with meetings is that they are intrusive into an employee’s work schedule – keeping them in advance helps your workforce stay focused and undisrupted.
Create a Well-Organized Agenda
Never call for a meeting if you don’t have a structured plan. And the need of meeting should be understood by everyone – not just you but everyone who is invited to attend.
And the best agenda tool that can help you with this is AgreeDo.
AgreeDo can create and manage your agenda. Share your agenda with your participants beforehand, so they know what the purpose of a business meeting is, they know what to expect, and they can even prepare some data for those ‘just-in-case’ moments.
With our web application, your teams will have the ability to suggest topics to review or comment on the agenda items. You can view their comments and make the appropriate adjustments to the agenda all in one place.
Sharing the agenda beforehand is a great way to get your participants’ buy-in on your planned discussion topics.
Run Your Meeting as Scheduled
Follow the agenda; take notes of action items, responsibilities, assignments, and decisions. And with AgreeDo, you can do all this simultaneously.
Make sure you open the floor for discussions, questions, open items, or any work-related concerns. You don’t need these to be addressed during the meeting, but acknowledging and parking it for the meantime would surely make your participants feel better and heard.
Send the Meeting Minutes
This outline is essential to be sent out to all participants regardless if they were present during the discussion or if they might have missed it.
This ensures that you cover everyone, and ignorance will not be used against you or as an excuse. This helps to keep all members of the organization on the same page and prevents unnecessary note-taking from stealing focus during a meeting.
Do the Necessary Follow-ups Promptly
Follow up agreed decisions and assignments to ensure successful execution of your meeting objectives. Open issues that you are still working on; let them know that it is still progress.
But never ignore or wait until a second or third follow-up happens before you address it.
Meetings should be a once-a-week catch-up that everyone’s looking forward to – not a spontaneous, chaotic affair that leaves your workforce stressed and unhappy.
By highlighting the importance of meetings in business communication and partnering with AgreeDo, you can always have a well-organized and efficiently run meeting that can increase productivity, save you and your participants time, inspire action, result in solutions, and encourage cooperation.