When to text, when to email, when to Skype, and when you actually need to sit around a table.
- Millennials are the first generation that are digital natives, so what does that mean? Well, we don't know another way. There are two things you need to know about meetings. First, a lot of the rules about meetings were established long before the invention of email and electronic communication. Number two, now this one is more subtle. Millennials overwhelmingly believe that businesses need a reset in terms of paying as much attention to people and purchase as it does to product and profit. 75 percent of millennials believe businesses are too fixated on their own agendas, and not focused enough on improving society.
The president of Deloitte Global concluded, "These findings should be viewed as a valuable alarm "to the business community, "particularly in developed markets. "They need to change the way they engage millennial talent, "or they risk being left behind." These two factors, technology and a different belief system are both affecting the way younger people experience meetings. Here are some tips to keep your meetings productive. First, send out the agenda in advance. I've been in meetings where the first ten minutes of the meeting is deciding why we're even there.
As a millennial, you've already lost me, and you probably lost the rest of the room. We want to know in advance what this meeting is about, whether we're deciding on a new initiative, or if it's a brainstorming meeting. One technique I like is for the boss to start off by saying, "What would make this meeting a success for me "is if we accomplish x," then ask the other people, "What would make this meeting successful for you?" Spending the first few minutes doing that actually makes the meeting go faster, and it helps people stay engaged. Secondly, expect everyone to contribute.
We had to sit through hundreds of boring lectures in school just a few years ago, and we know how to fake attention, but fake attention doesn't mean we're engaged, and if you communicate the information via memo or slide deck, just skip the meeting, and send out the Powerpoint. The purpose of a meeting is back and forth communication. Instead of thinking, what do I want to tell them, think what do we need to talk about together. Ask questions, give everyone a chance to talk, and let people know you expect them to be prepared, and fully engaged.
Third, don't start with numbers. When you start your meeting with a spreadsheet, you're telling your team, what we care about the most are our internal metrics, and millennials, we care more about purpose than numbers. Instead, start the meeting off with a win of the week, or a positive impact you had on a customer. Fourth, bring your customers into the room. Everyone in your company should understand who your customers are, and how you improve their lives. Millennials, in particular, love this interaction.
Make sure it's a component of every meeting, especially for the not-customer-facing millennials. You don't want them only discussing internal issues. You want your customer impact at the center stage of every meeting. Show who your customer is on LinkedIn, and you can even invite them into the room. Lastly, use meetings to make decisions. Don't let the end of the meeting get away from you. Make sure you've nailed down the who, what, and when, of the action items. There's a reason so many Dilbert cartoons feature boring meetings, and there's a reason we all laugh about them, because we've all experienced it.
Unproductive meetings aren't just a waste of time. They have a chilling effect on morale. Don't let a bad meeting happen to you.
- Identify information that should be included in job expectations.
- Determine the best ways to engage millennials in face-to-face meetings.
- Explain how to provide effective performance feedback.
- Recognize incentives that will increase retention rates.
- List three signs of employee disengagement.