Hold regular face-to-face-meetings.
We have many communication options these days – phone calls, faxes, emails, text messages, and so on. Sometimes it seems as though traditional, old-fashioned face-to-face meetings are disappearing. Does the following scenario appear familiar?
Bob, Director of Sales, who is away on a business trip, texts a message to Susan, his assistant – We need to talk – something big has come up. Noon tomorrow OK?
Susan texts back – You're on for 12!
Susan promptly emails a few of her friends in the department this message – I just got a text from Bob. Something big is coming down the pipe. I bet we closed the deal with WhatzitWorld. I'll tell you more after I talk with him tomorrow afternoon.
Meanwhile, Bob has sent a text to Gerald (the HR manager) – Gerry, we lost the whole WhatzitWorld account. Here's a head's up to get the pink-slips ready. Need to talk about dept reorganization.
Gerald then sends an email to Susan – Susan, can you prepare an abbreviated employee performance data report? I know the official report comes out Wednesday but if you could put together total sales this year and break it down monthly per salesperson and then apply our ROI formula to the support staff as well that would be great. I also need to know if there have been any significant changes to job descriptions or pending staff changes that I should be aware of. I know you're busy, but please can you make this a priority.
Susan drops everything and sends an email to the entire department – Something big has happened at the sales meeting Bob is at. Gerald wants our up-to-date performance data and any changes to job descriptions or positions. Can you send me your latest information ASAP? The last time I gathered this type of information they were preparing those surprise bonus checks for us so make sure you send me anything and everything you think is relevant to your performance this period.
How do you think this situation turns out after Bob gets a chance to speak with Susan in person?
The ease of instant communication can result in a lot of misunderstanding and confusion, leading to false rumors, hurt feelings, and even mistrust. In a rush to share information and get the ball rolling, the need to gather people together and to communicate complex, important information can be lost.
To avoid the sort of mess created by disjointed communiqués like the ones above, regular meetings with your team can be useful. Called team briefings, they allow you to provide accurate updates on things like policies, projects, priorities, and staffing issues to key people, all at the same time.
In a team briefing, people have an opportunity to ask questions, clarify their understanding, and provide immediate reactions and feedback.
The basic characteristics of a team briefing are as follows:
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