Squeeze value from meetings

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in Meeting Management,Office Management

To convey your organization's new direction to employees, you host lots of informational meetings. You strive to stay on message and repeatedly emphasize core pillars of change.

Perhaps you reduce your main points to a numbered list or a catchy tagline ("deliver results, delight customers, develop ideas"). Yet cynical employees respond with scorn, thinking, "More jargon and meaningless buzzwords that'll achieve nothing."

To ensure that your meetings sink in, stop diagramming your vision like a football coach mapping out a play. Instead, let the group talk. Engage your staff by posing provocative questions and listening to their input.

That's better than lecturing them on management's latest vision statement and why it's so crucial to the organization's future. Employees have heard that before - and they probably won't believe it.

In the best meetings, everyone's chiming in. The leader talks less than half the time, allowing participants to bounce ideas off each other in a lively, unbridled manner. A scribe takes notes so that all insights and observations get recorded.

To make faster decisions, invite a cross-section of key players to the meeting. Ideally, you want to fill the room with, say, supervisors, technicians, salespeople and support staff.

At the New York Stock Exchange, CEO Duncan Niederauer stopped holding meetings limited to peers within the same managerial level. Instead, he assembled groups that represented a mix of roles and responsibilities.

"It was [too] hierarchical, so we blew that up almost right away," Niederauer said in a recent speech at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

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