The dog days of summer are here, which means more employees may have their mind on the beach, than on the boardroom.
Regardless of the season, the phrase “this meeting could have been an email,” is an all-too-common one. But meetings do matter, and with the right execution, a lot can get done.
We asked some senior marketers, VPs, directors, and business owners, how they make the most of regular meetings, with tips on keeping employees and stakeholders engaged:
Make it worth it
“Before booking a meeting, ask yourself: can this be accomplished with a simple drive-by a person’s desk? Taking this approach will either get you the information you want without a meeting, or at least clarify that you need to set aside time to discuss further. When a meeting is necessary, get the buy-in of the stakeholders ahead of time. No one likes to go into a meeting blind – with a little pre-conversation you can make sure each stakeholder is on the same page when they walk into that room. The discussion will be more focused and poignant as a result.” – Sarah Cascone, senior marketing manager, Bluecore
“At the beginning of each meeting, we go around and have each person express gratitude for anything in their life. Then we review the KPIs for each person. Here, we aren’t looking for explanations. It’s simply ‘Did you hit your numbers for the week or not?’ If someone didn’t hit their KPIs for the week, we drop those down into our open issues section. We address open issues as a group. For instance, if a salesperson didn’t hit the amount of leads, we hold them accountable. Then we want to know what we can do as leaders to help them.” – Shawn Breyer, owner, ?Breyer Home Buyers
Get on the same page
“Marketing meetings are usually ideating meetings, brainstorming or addressing a specific problem, which can go on forever. One of the best practices is to float the topic of discussion in an email and ask people to come up with one-liner viewpoints and put out an online poll within the team. The top three can be selected and discussed. When the content of the meeting is clear, the possibility of meandering is less.” Yaagneshwaran Ganesh, director of marketing, Fiind Inc.
Keep goals aligned
“Whether its sales, product or HR, marketing should play a role in almost every department. This makes cross-departmental meetings important so that everyone is on track and overall brand goals can be met. With this in mind, the best way to ensure that cross-departmental meetings are productive is by scheduling them on a regular basis (monthly, quarterly, annually) depending on your needs, and setting goals that should be met prior to the following meeting. Make sure to assign people that are responsible for monitoring and attaining each goal so that no action items fall off your radar. Lastly, tie each goal that you’ve set to your company’s bottom line, as revenue growth should be a priority no matter the department.” – Mark Nardone, EVP, PAN Communications
“The biggest thing I think anyone can do to make any meeting more productive is to be super transparent. There is no secret to why we are holding the meeting, or where we want it to take us. By leading with transparency, everyone can be fully present, invested and you’re communicating that you value the time of everyone in the room,” – Nina Foley, founder/lead strategist, Gardner Media Collective
Ditch the slides
“I stole this tip from Jeff Bezos, but it’s been so effective that I had to share it. We never use PowerPoint in our meetings anymore. Instead, we ask the person holding the meeting to create a clearly structured briefing memo that includes full paragraphs under headings. We’ve found that these memos are an amazing way to get everyone on the same page before the meeting starts so that the meeting time can actually be used to discuss new ideas. Now that people know they have to prepare a detailed memo before a meeting, meetings are only scheduled when necessary. Lastly, these memos are circulated and edited after the meeting, serving as a detailed running record of the project progress.” – Zachary Gallinger, president, Talent Hero Media
Keep it concise
“We have a clear agenda for our marketing meets and a clear time frame. Never more than 2-3 items to discuss and no more than 45 minutes. We also meet once a week, not more. This helps us really focus the meeting on what are the things I need to talk about that can’t fit in a quick email. That mindset helps set up the meeting agenda, and whittle it down to the important points that really need discussing.” – Samantha Avneri, marketing director, RegPack
Turn to tech
“Using a project management solution, like Asana or Basecamp, gives teams the power to execute projects from start to finish without having to schedule a weekly or monthly meeting to discuss progress. Users can do everything from assign tasks and deadlines to set goals and communicate results. We use Asana for our marketing campaigns, which has helped our marketing team run more efficiently.” – Ryan Bonnici, CMO, G2 Crowd
“”We are heavy users of Slack, a tool that helps us foster internal collaboration. We have channels focused and dedicated to specific topics and work streams, to keep everyone organized on the latest information. We also utilize google docs / drive, which allow us to tag people in specific sections of documents for comment or collaboration on items in progress. Because we have these tools to aid us in our day-to-day efficiency, when we do call a meeting, we try to ensure it is necessary to move a project forward.” – Jennifer Toton, VP of marketing at RollWorks, AdRoll Group
Learn and innovate
“Having a regular retrospective to improve process and communication. This helps to keep productivity top of mind and helps team members aligned on process and goals.” – Trish Chan, senior manager, eCommerce marketing, Rodan + Fields