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Move Your Company Meetings to New Heights

by Jay Love

In a few of my previous posts, I described our monthly company gatherings as one of Slingshot SEO’s central communication vehicles. Obviously, it should be since we have everyone gathered to hear about what’s going on in the company. However, many business-related company meetings tend to destroy employees’ thirst for knowledge — boring them to the point that the main focus of their once open minds becomes how much longer before this is over.

Sound familiar? I know it’s true because I was often the recipient of such “walks-through-the-valley-of-death-by-boredom” meetings in the early stages of my business career. There honestly is no excuse for such dreary events because every CEO or manager preparing for a meeting knows what they found entertaining and exciting in school, at the movies or on TV. There aren’t too many top-rated TV shows featuring someone reading from notes with little or no interaction from the audience.

Why then are so many “company meetings” like that?

In my opinion, the problem lies in not thinking outside the box combined with taking the easiest path of preparation. Do you think senior management would take such a path if they answered the following question honestly?

“If we are given just one hour each month to gather every important team member together to inform them and keep them focused on the company’s key objectives for  outstanding success , would we make the extra effort to make it exciting, inspirational and memorable?”

I am delighted to say Slingshot SEO’s department heads asked themselves that very question after we discussed it during a leadership team meeting and responded with a unanimous “yes.” I am even more excited to report their affirmative response has allowed us to improve this vital communication event every single month since I’ve had the good fortune to join the team!

To say that I am proud of them is an understatement. Now in addition to being proud, I have to keep trying to raise my game to higher levels for the portion of the meeting I am responsible for. Thankfully, I will always have my secret weapon — the monthly awarding of our OTM (Outstanding Team Member). This recognition involves reading the warm, thoughtful and caring comments expressed by various team members about their peers. You can’t fake or improve what’s heartwarming and inspirational.

An inside view

Please allow me to provide a peek into our most recent company meeting.

It is 5 p.m. on a Thursday, and in just a few minutes our meeting will begin. Unlike most businesses which adhere to the standard five-day work week, ours is about to end as we wrap up another four days of non-stop action, success and fun. Since our work-day goes until 6 p.m., stopping a bit after 5 to meet is a welcomed reprieve. In addition, we serve refreshments and snacks before, during and after the meeting. (What would a good movie be without a snack and a drink?)

I usually kick off the meeting by sharing our latest financial results, and announcing new hires and employee anniversaries. Then begins a parade of department heads, each sharing their news, results, kudos and client success stories in three PowerPoint slides or less. The more fun pictures and inside jokes the better, because the crowd usually roars their approval via laughter or resounding applause. As you might guess, they work pretty hard to keep pace with each other and to keep the rest of the team interested. It is a magic formula of numerous talking heads taking full advantage of our wonderful geeky and free-spirited culture, which attracts so many top notch folks who know how to do nothing but win daily!

After that, I have the honor of wrapping up the meeting by announcing upcoming events and awarding the OTM for the month. Last week’s meeting was followed by more refreshments, a rock band video game contest and various board games. Since I had just recovered from back surgery and was not yet able to drive, my wife arrived about 30 minutes after the meeting was over. I could not get her to leave because she thought it was the best party she had been to in awhile . . .

Here are a few of the slides from recent meetings to round out your glimpse into what heights our meeting reaches. If you have further suggestions on how to improve company meetings, please let me know via a comment or two . . .