Internal communication life hacks: how to make staff meetings effective

Nov 17, 2020 | Judiciary, Justice

Although staff meetings are objectively necessary, they often take up a significant portion of working time and reduce productivity. Reda Moliene, international expert of EU Project Pravo-Justice, advised on how to make staff meetings an effective tool during webinar "Internal Communications in the Judiciary" of training course "Model Communication Solutions for Ukrainian Courts".

According to a Harvard Business Review* survey, 71% of senior managers call staff meetings unproductive and inefficient. The team is burdened by the fact that staff meetings are intentionally frequent, their wrong and unclear planning (lack of agenda, vague topics), inaccurate targeting (involvement of participants who have nothing to do with the purpose of the staff meeting), poor moderation or total lack of it as well as lack of conclusions or further action to be taken.

Therefore, to eliminate these factors, the following should be taken into account when planning staff meetings:

  • Time, place (to be indicated so that participants plan their day and do not waste time looking for a meeting place if it is changeable and is not always permanent).
  • Target group (participants) - only those who can contribute and can benefit. Finally, if necessary, you can inform the other participants via e-mail about the results of the staff meeting.
  • Specific agenda (duration, topics, speakers, moderator, time for discussions). This will help save time, effectively moderate the meeting via reference to the timing of the agenda. Adherence to the agenda will allow participants to plan their working hours for the day, meetings and workflow.
  • Preparatory work. You need to prepare for the staff meeting, gather thoughts and messages to be conveyed, distinguish between topics to be discussed and just to be brought to attention, determine the algorithm of the expected discussion, anticipate the reactions of staff meeting participants and set aside time to interact with them.
  • Summary, conclusions, follow-up. Always summarize what is said and discussed to avoid different interpretations. Always talk in which version you approve the decision on a particular issue, who will be the executor, what are the deadlines, what is the algorithm. If possible, record this information in writing so that you can confirm the agreements reached if necessary.
  • Dissemination of information, monitoring of further actions. The results of the meeting are circulated either to the participants or, if they concern a wider circle, to this public. Ideally - by e-mail. It is also desirable to agree on how the implementation of the agreements will be checked - reporting after a certain time, follow-up meeting, written notifications, etc.

And a few more tips on what an internal meeting should look like in order to be the embodiment of a generally accepted culture of meetings. Adherence to these rules should be agreed with the team, or as well print them out and hang on the wall in the room where staff meetings are usually held.

  • Speak briefly and focused. We all know that we work hard. No need to talk about it. In weekly meetings, we talk about our work, focusing on challenges, challenges, success stories and lessons learned.
  • Always prepare for the meeting (read materials, think about topics for speeches, prepare a presentation to present a complex issue).
  • Make suggestions, not just report problems.
  • Follow the agenda. In emergencies, new issues and topics can be raised and discussed. In other cases, these issues may be scheduled for the next meeting (or an additional irregular meeting on a specific issue).