Meetings are often considered as the bane of employees’ worklife. “How can I get any work done when I have to spend so much time in worthless meetings?”
An old adage defines a meeting as a gathering of a group of people where hours are wasted and minutes are taken. When employees in many companies are IT Staff asked about their pet peeves in their workplace, a frequent response is that there are too many meetings and that the meetings they are forced to attend have little value for them.
Meetings that are properly planned and executed can offer many developmental opportunities for your employees. Here are some ideas on how to use your staff meetings to develop your employees’ skills.
1. Assign a different staff employee to put together the agenda for each staff meeting. This will require the person to gather information from you (the manager) and other staff members on reports to be made and issues to be discussed, to discuss priorities with you, and allot time to each agenda item. [Development Areas: Getting a broader perspective of the work of all members; developing business acumen; meeting management skills; learning more about the manager’s priorities]
2. At each staff meeting assign a staff member to bring in and lead a learning activity, such as discussing a recent problem situation, circulating an article of interest and the leading a discussion of it, suggesting a change in how the group does its work and leading a discussion of it, or bringing in information on a competitor’s product and service and leading a discussion of it. [Development Areas: Leading a discussion; listening skills; presentation skills; learning about the perspectives of other staff members; receiving feedback]
3. Rotate responsibility for facilitating each staff meeting among staff members. [Development Areas: Listening skills; meeting management skills; facilitation skills; conflict management skills]
4. Brainstorm the solution to a problem, challenge, or opportunity in a staff meeting. In some cases, you may want to announce the topic and start right in during the meeting; in other cases, you may want to tell people of the topic ahead of time so they can think about alternatives before the brainstorming session. [Development Areas: Brainstorming skills; listening skills; influencing skills; developing synergy among staff members; critical and creative thinking skills]
5. Invite a guest speaker to a staff meeting. This could be a customer or a supplier (internal or external) who can address how the two groups can work together more easily and effectively. [Development Areas: Listening skills; critical and creative thinking skills; problem analysis skills]
6. Assign a staff member to run the staff meeting in your absence (e.g., while you are away on business or on vacation). [Development Areas: Meeting management; leadership; management skills; conflict management skills]
7. In running your staff meetings, take the time to notice who among your staff tend to dominate the discussions and who participate little, if at all. Develop your own meeting management skills to get the introverts on your staff to participate more and the extraverts to limit their input. Not only will this result in more equal participation, but it will also model meeting management and facilitation skills for your staff members. [Development Areas: Meeting management skills; facilitation skills; leadership skills]