Four Keys To Better Group Meetings

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(By Spike Santee) Group meetings are just one of the “Four Formal Methods of Communication in a Professional Organization.” As a leader within your organization, learning how to conduct an effective group meeting can help you drive team participation and achieve greater objectives.

Key #1 – Have an Agenda
The most effective group meetings have an agenda. The agenda must be distributed to all attendees at least 24 hours in advance so that all participants can come prepared. Even if you distribute a copy of the group meeting agenda in an email, have a printed copy for each attendee on hand for use in the meeting.

The purpose of holding a group meeting usually fits into one of two categories, transactional information meetings and training meetings. You should not mix training content with transactional information in the same group meeting.

The primary purpose of the transactional information group meeting is to communicate important operational information to all participants. In other words, get and keep everyone on the same page. So, the agenda of the transactional information group meeting should remain relatively constant from week to week. Consult with your staff about your station’s specific agenda needs, but here is a sample template to get you started.

Welcome (5 minutes)
– Celebrate success
– General announcements and reminders
Where We Stand (10 minutes)
– Group and individual goals and status for the next three months
– Specific goals and status for special group sales packages and initiatives
– Review of unsold package inventory, weather, news, “Drive at Five,” etc.
Department Report (10 minutes)
– Traffic department (5 minutes)
– Programming and Promotions department (5 minutes)
Calendar Review (5 minutes)
– Discuss important dates coming up
* Sales promotions
* Holiday traffic department deadlines
– Provide a written handout of important dates to attendees
Current Group Sales Effort Status (15 minutes)
– Review the goals of the group sales effort
– Review the deadlines for sales and paperwork
– Discuss the need for additional — or changes to — sales tools and materials
Next Group Sales Effort Status (15 minutes)
– Review the goals of the group sales effort
– Review the deadlines for sales and paperwork
– Review the sales tools and materials

Group sales efforts are usually things like high school, college, or professional sports packages, and sponsorship packages for an event like a job fair or a summer concert series. They are usually things that are a hectic mess to get done on time. High-performance organizations harness the power of the individual’s sales efforts and those of the group by getting those things on the agenda in advance.

Key #2 – Start and End on Time
Timely attendance is essential for effective meetings. That means, you, as the manager or meeting organizer, must start and end the meeting on time. You will need to train your staff that you are serious about the meeting times. It’s disrespectful for anyone to be late to a meeting so don’t be the one that disrespects your coworker’s time. If people arrive late, just keep on schedule, don’t acknowledge them or scold them in front of the rest of the team. That should be done in private. You don’t have time in your agenda to discipline someone for being late. It may take a few weeks for people to get the message, but you need to set the tone.

The same thing goes for ending the meeting. It must end on time. Your people have their agenda to keep.

Key #3 – Involve the Staff
Break up the meeting by getting people involved. There is already 10 minutes devoted to members of your programming, promotions, and traffic departments. But you can get your salespeople involved in presenting the numbers in the Where We Stand segment. Pass the job around from one salesperson to the next every week. They are supposed to be good presenters anyway. Make sure they get a copy of the numbers in advance so they can review them before you ask them to stand and present.

The segments on the current group sales effort and the upcoming group sales effort are designed to get the salespeople involved. This is their chance to contribute to the package and sales material design. You need to assign different tasks to different salespeople. Perhaps one does a sample presentation and another could describe the actual packages. Ask for input on what the salespeople need to get the project sold on time and at budget.

Key #4 – Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
The weekly transactional information meeting is a critical component of the “Four Formal Methods of Communication in a Professional Organization.” You have the complete attention of your sales team for 60 minutes. Make it count.

If you need some help, let me know.

Spike Santee is the Administrator at MyRadioSchool.com and President at SpikeSantee.com, LLC.

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