A curse or a cure?

Every manager knows that internal meetings can easily fill the diary and seem to take on a life of their own. So how do you make the most of internal meetings? Covid-19 imposes the added challenge of isolation and separation, so it is even more important that people feel connected.

All too often business meetings are cynically seen as lacking purpose or value.  Employees and channel partners will be feeling insecure during the coronavirus pandemic, which means that information and support are vitally important.  Effective internal meetings rely on professional event planning and preparation.

Adopting some basic principles

Both small departmental meetings and larger management meetings can be made more productive if we follow some simple guidelines:

  • A title for the meeting, designed like a book title to announce the content or theme
  • A declared ‘strategic’ purpose (or objective) for the meeting
  • A chairperson with authority to control the meeting
  • An agenda, with specific individuals assigned ‘ownership’ of each item
  • An ‘exclusive’ list of participants (no uninvited or unnecessary attendees), each with authority to make proposals and/or vote to support decisions
  • A scribe or other method of recording proceedings. Ensure that the results of the meeting can be monitored by board-level leaders
  • A report from the chairperson or a nominated representative. Publish decisions made and follow-up actions assigned from the meeting
  • Circulation of the report to those attending. Specify senior managers/directors PLUS any other relevant people who need to be kept informed.

Corporate meetings and other events

Some larger ‘internal’ meetings or conferences will be with channel partners and other key stakeholders. They may be addressing part of or the entire workforce. Event management companies can assist with content, planning and event organisation.

With restrictions necessary because of Covid-19, as well as practical concerns about travel, the use of social media and sharing platforms allow internal communication to be maintained.  The same attention to detail is essential if the event is to be productive.

Meeting apps and other technology permit direct messages to be distributed in advance and feedback to be collected. This can be done using a ‘live’ voting system during the meeting or with appropriate feedback forms and post-event surveys.

Getting a good Event ROI

Investment in larger meetings is normally budgeted and recorded, so that financial control is exerted.  The danger of not being able to provide an accurate measurement is that future budgets for internal communication may be reduced or eliminated. Circulation of ideas, information, problems and solutions throughout an organisation keep it healthy and sustainable.  Making internal meetings effective is an critical duty of board level leadership and must be part of its strategy for success.