By Jennifer Evans, Principal of The CKP Group in Houston, Texas.
My spouse and I work in different environments. He leads a technical team in the oil and gas industry. I spend my time at The CKP Group building robust communications efforts for clients. Still, we frequently “talk shop” and share best practices. There are two things we both detest: rudderless meetings and ineffective or missing measurement.
Meetings that matter
Meetings should be meaningful and strategic. Most meeting appointments originate from either an information gap or a problem that needs to be solved. Face time is key to relationship management whether it comes through video calls or traditional settings, and non-verbal cues foster connection. This is not an “older generation” preference. I recently surveyed communications colleagues and peers and found there was an overwhelming desire from younger professionals for effective face time. There are numerous training platforms built around meeting management, such as Six Sigma and a myriad of alternate options.
My recipe for great meetings includes these ingredients:
- A real agenda and effective management – I still use Six Sigma rules
- A designated scribe – Key to articulating actionable next steps
- Listening skills – See this Forbes piece on great listeners
- A good attitude – My friend Traci Duez of Break Free Consulting suggests you frame thoughts along the lines of, “I am fortunate to attend a meeting with people I respect” versus “I have to attend this meeting.”
Measurement and Reporting results
Measurement and reporting can be frustrating because there are unlimited variables that can be measured as well as employer/client expectations. Why do we want to report? What do our clients and/or supervisors want to see? What will be done with the data? We should be infinitely curious investigators who demonstrate “sleuth” skills in weekly team meetings and monthly reports for clients. Data-driven conversations and communications inform the client and the agent.
Ingredients for successful results and reporting include:
- Do front-end research to be clear on measurements – For public relations, content marketing or social media measurement, I follow pros like Katie Paine, Olivier Blanchard and Kami Huyse
- Tapas style bites – Bundle incremental info into concise briefs that can be unpacked for action (in a meaningful meeting!)
- Influence the influencers – Use formal reporting to educate supervisors, peers or clients, as well as other key influencers or advocates inside the organization
Try these communications tips the next time you organize a meeting or start a meaningful conversation about a new campaign, client or project and let us know if it makes a difference for you.
Jennifer Evans, PRConsultants Group affiliate for Houston, Texas, is a veteran public relations and communications consultant. She serves as a Principal of The CKP Group, focusing on communications strategy for the integrated communications firm clients. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.