Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Encinitas Businessman Krishen Iyer Offers Simple Strategies to Build Collaboration in Big Meetings

Cross-departmental meetings are important in any business. Ensuring that employees of different disciplines are pulling toward a common goal is a core priority. However, one of the consequences of the pandemic is that separate teams have become more exclusive. Since many staff members only have to communicate with their immediate team, this has led to tight-knit departments that may not connect with the greater company.

Overcoming this challenge can be tricky; when you’re hosting big meetings, you need to make sure that all of the departments and staff members are fully engaged with the topic. Krishen Iyer, founder and CEO of MAIS Consulting, works with entrepreneurs to realize their goals. Here’s his advice on how you can use simple strategies to ensure that employees collaborate well with one another during big meetings. 

Always Set Meeting Expectations

Ahead of having a big meeting with your staff, it’s worth setting expectations. If you’re unsure what results you want out of a session, you can’t expect your staff to fully understand this either. That’s why it’s important to outline exactly what you expect from the meeting before you get started. You may be trying to overcome a particular challenge, a new project that you have in the works, or simply feedback you need. Regardless of what it is, clearly outlining these expectations should be your first step. When you have done that, you can circulate this brief to all of the departments so that every individual staff member knows what to expect. 

Share Your Intentions with Staff 

Change is never easy. If you have determined that there’s a need for a new process, be clear about that with your team. While it may not be easy to tell your employees that you are dissatisfied with them, taking an open and honest approach is the only option. Take the time to consider which team members are actively involved in discussions and which are not. With the latter group, it may be worth having a private discussion about how you can change that. Be receptive to hear what your employees have to say. You may find that some staff members lack the confidence required to speak up during these sessions, for example. If that’s the case, you can work with them to overcome this obstacle over time. 

Create a Simple Participation System 

The pressure to be actively involved in meetings can be detrimental at times. You might notice that some employees simply echo what their counterparts have said by rewording their views. The problem here is that this repetition wastes time and often makes meetings go down a rabbit hole of agreement. Don’t make that mistake. Instead, create a simple system that your staff can use. For example, you could encourage staff members to say “I agree” when listening to points, rather than feeling that they have to add something to it. Additionally, in cases when team members have nothing useful to add, they could simply say “pass.” Outlining these functions ahead of a meeting means that you can be as productive as possible in that business time.

Keep Track of Every Meeting 

During a big meeting, it can be hard to keep track of who said what and when. The modern working world is continuously informed by data, and so you might want to use this to your advantage. Have a team member take minutes and keep a log of who is speaking up. Around halfway through the meeting, you can pause and reflect on what’s happening. The staff member then has a chance to report back on how many team members have collaborated and who has stayed silent. This approach is not about naming and shaming. Instead, it is about encouraging the less forward employees to step up their game and giving them a chance to be heard. 

Bridge Departmental Gaps 

None of your departments work in isolation. When you’re overseeing a big meeting, you may need to remind your employees of this fact. Demonstrate the ways that different departments connect. For example, you may say something like, “How will that schedule impact the finance department?” or “How do you see that working for the operations team?” Giving these small cues could help your employees to think outside of their departmental box. While it could take time for the teams to get used to this approach, showing that you’re serious about it could help them to flourish in the long run. Keep at it. 

Try Using Various Mediums

Have you thought about integrating technology into your meetings? One of the best approaches you can take is to mix things up when you need feedback. Some staff members will always struggle to speak up in large discussions. While you can help them overcome this challenge, ensure that there are alternatives available. For instance, you may want to host a cross-departmental meeting via chat or even send out feedback forms to employees. These methods may allow more reserved staff members to have their say without feeling intimidated. Taking the time to switch up the way your teams communicate could make a huge difference. 

The Takeaway! 

Big meetings no longer have to be the bane of your company. For your business to work well, you need to make sure that all of the departments are working together. Often enough, managers and business owners can find this hard. However, by making some changes to the way that you approach these sessions, you could encourage your employees to work in sync. It’s worth taking a look at the ways that you currently conduct these meetings and identifying areas of weakness. When you’ve done that, you can start tailoring them to get the most out of staff members. 

About Krishen Iyer

Krishen Iyer has Encinitas-based entrepreneur business. He is the founder and CEO of MAIS Consulting, a comprehensive consultation group that identifies gaps and opportunities in the market. While the company is in Southern California, it serves clients all over the United States. The business ensures the success of new and established companies with an emphasis on marketing, company policies, and strategic growth. 

Ahead of starting MAIS Consulting, Krishen Iyer gathered 18 years of experience in insurance, marketing, and contracting. Toward the start of 2002, he sold his former company, Managed Benefits Services, and began this latest enterprise. With a wealth of industry-specific experience and a truly diverse skill-set, Krishen Iyer is well-placed to aid businesses in accelerating and reaching their full potential.

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