What is a meeting?
A group of people gather together for synchronous verbal and visual communication. The communication can be one-to-one, one-to-many, or many-to-many. Generally the setting is formal. Meetings are scheduled in advance and imply mandatory attendance. They are synchronous multimedia experiences.
What is “effective communication”?
Effective communication is the right message delivered through the right medium at the right time for the right audience. That’s a lot of pressure! It gets worse! Consider the preferences of your audience and realize everyone absorbs information in different ways. Should your message be written, visual, performed, spoken, folksy, well-rehearsed… the variations in communication are infinite.
What is the problem you’re trying to solve?
Before any communication, please consider the problem to be solved. Perhaps you’re meeting out of habit. That’s fine, but do so with intention! Don’t fall into shitty meetings.
What is the point of your meeting?
Consider these possibilities:
- Casual time with the team to build rapport and relationships
- Status updates
- Providing context through storytelling, allegory, and myths
- Reading slides to each other
- Marking time on the calendar (two weeks have passed again!)
- Discussion towards a decision
- Discussion away from a decision
- Venting frustrations and commiserating
- Hyping and repeating some recent news/change
The audience, medium, timing, and content varies for each of these examples.
What are the tools at your disposal?
You have more tools at your fingertips than any manager in human history! Email, Slack, phone calls, video calls, recorded presentations, blog posts, slides, polls, collaborative doodleboards… AND you can use any combination of these to communicate. You don’t have to use just one.
But what did Sean do?
The purpose of my Teams Meeting™ was to tell stories to build a culture and provide organizational perspective. I make that clear in the agenda.
The meeting is always optional and sometimes canceled. If a meaningful message hadn’t naturally emerged since the last meeting I’ll cancel. If the message doesn’t benefit from my live performance I’ll send an email instead.
What about your problem?
I don’t know your job! Pick the tools that work for you and your audience! My friend Benedict gave me great advice about 8 years ago: Try thinking and writing before you start whatever you’re doing.