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Commentary: Get the most from your meetings

Stuart Levine
Dolan Media Newswires

Long Island, NY – As a business leader, you realize how important communication is to the success of your organization. But what is even more critical than communicating itself – particularly in today’s challenging economic climate – is the way you engage with your colleagues and team and how you present your message. It’s what I call “purposeful communication.”

You have to define what you are trying to achieve internally and externally and get focused on that direction and sharing of information around those priorities.

Here are some ideas on how you can fine-tune communication with your team.

  • Make your communication more purposeful.

    Chief executive officers have information that is not accessible to most employees in their organization. It is important to drive nonconfidential information deep within the organization. One CEO I know has breakfast with about 15 employees one morning a month. They are randomly selected. It’s an informal, off-the-record, 90-minute gathering where the CEO gets to know his employees, employees get to ask direct questions of the CEO and employees get to know each other. The cost to the company is minimal, but the benefits that the employees and the CEO gain are priceless.

  • Every meeting should have a purpose.

    Make sure that you have a clear purpose in mind for all meetings. Ask yourself four questions in advance of your meeting: What do I want to accomplish? What do I need from the team? What information do I want to share? What can I do to add value to the team?

  • Ask your colleagues and team what they think.

    Let employees know before a meeting that you are going to ask them for their input. It’s important to give people a chance to prepare and participate, as gathering their different perspectives is critical. Soliciting their feedback is especially important as you make strategic plans.

  • Hold shorter meetings.

    Hold shorter 10 to 20-minute meetings once or twice or week. In our firm, we have consultant conference calls every Monday morning for 30 minutes to catch up and plan for the week ahead. I think we can get the same amount of work done in 15 minutes, and we’re going to work on getting that meeting time reduced.

These may sound like simple points, but in reality, they are hard to put into effect. Before execution, they need to be well thought out and made part of your strategy. If they are made a priority, you have a greater chance of implementing effectively. In every strategic plan that we develop, communication is a key driver.

Look at how you handle communication within your team and organization. The extra focus will bring important and surprising financial and cultural benefits.

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