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It’s easy to think that because you talk to your team members every day, you talk to your team members, but the truth is that if you’re not doing staff briefing sessions regularly, your communication needs work. Running a briefing session doesn’t need to be daunting, and it doesn’t need a ton of planning either. The perk of doing them is that they keep everyone communicating, and they keep company focus on the right path too.
Kinds of Briefing Sessions
Purposes and frequency will change some parameters for these sessions. If you’re open for fixed hours daily and all hands are on deck, it can be great for morale and focus to have a five-minute gather-around meeting just before the business opens. Set priorities and targets for the day, hear any concerns staff might have and then get cracking.
If it’s more of a weekly or biweekly check-in, it will need to be 15 to 30 minutes long to cover more ground. For even more infrequent sessions, it may need to be over 30 minutes. Whatever the length, set a maximum time, tell everyone when it will be over and stick to the clock. A weekly meeting with a fixed length can be much more effective and efficient than you might think.
Read More: How to Conduct a Team Briefing Session
Getting a Briefing Session Started
First off, call it something other than a briefing or a meeting so people don’t go in with the attitude of being stuck in a bureaucratic moment. Call it a “roundtable” or a “catch up” or something else, and let staff know it’s planned and has an agenda, but it's also informal, and you value their input too. Plan it in advance and start on schedule.
To ensure you get the most bang for your buck, if it’s not a daily huddle before a shift starts, create an agenda for the meeting and send it to all employees in advance. Give employees the option of replying to the email if they have anything to add to the agenda or if they wish to expound upon it. It’s best if this becomes a regular event so that employees know they’ll always have a place to bring their ideas or observations for discussion. Ideally, there will be a standing agenda with fixed topics so employees know what to anticipate weekly.
Running the Meeting
Maybe you want a briefing meeting template, but it doesn’t need to be that complicated. Once things get started, let the phones ring or whatever it takes, but focus on the meeting. First up should always be news, such as information about a new product, a client need or a program malfunction – start with whatever the team needs to know.
Next, give recognition where it’s due. This is a morale boost for everyone because they know good work gets noticed and celebrated, so make this a priority. Then, segue into other topics that may matter in your workplace, such as safety issues, budget status, project updates and travel plans. Have an open-floor roundtable and closing remarks.
Each workplace will have different topics that need to be addressed, so keep an open mind because you may organically come upon discussion that makes it clear that, say, potential new projects or clients are an important talking point. Give employees the floor to speak – don’t just stand up there and commandeer the meeting for the duration. Let them handle some of the topics or updates so you're delegating, and staff feel that they have a voice in the company too.
Talking Is Important
Informal meetings foster good relationships and better communication. As time goes on, meetings will become more efficient and comfortable, but they’ll remain beneficial. This isn’t wasted productivity or time spent poorly. You’ll find quite the opposite once you get in the swing of holding regular briefings.
Steffani Cameron is a professional writer who has written for the Washington Post, Culture, Yahoo!, Canadian Traveller, and many other platforms. Some writing projects have included ghost-writing for CEOs and doing strategy white papers. She frequently writes for corporate clients representing Fortune 500 brands on subjects that include marketing, business, and social media trends.