To meet or not to meet? That is often the question. For many companies, meetings have become a double-edged sword. We want good communication within and between our departments, but we also want to be as efficient as possible with everyone’s time. Many companies have resorted to technology, using email blasts, virtual meetings, or group texts. Taking this path might make the company seem relevant and tech savvy; however, the move away from physical meetings has some drawbacks. Namely, it might lead to employees feeling less of a connection with management and the company’s mission.
At Bavarian Inn Lodge, we have found a great deal of value in maintaining regular face-to-face meetings. Each month, every department meets together. We keep the meetings to a reasonable, defined time limit to ensure a productive work day, but we make sure they happen and that everyone in the department strives to attend.
This is a great time for new people to meet the entire group, for team members to support each other through busy times, and for everyone to be reminded of the work family they’re serving alongside. There is an esprit de corps that comes from having a time where everyone can come together. Furthermore, this time allows for instant collaboration. Conversations can happen faster than what sometimes occurs via email or some other electronic communication.
In a live meeting, you can guarantee that certain information reaches every person on the team. Additionally, questions can be asked, and concerns immediately addressed so that everyone clearly understands the information that has been transmitted. If time is a challenge, it can be helpful for the meeting facilitator to provide a printed agenda. This will ensure that the meeting doesn’t wander off point. It will also provide a takeaway reminder of what was discussed for those who have attended.
Email, texting, and virtual meeting platforms are wonderful tools. We are fortunate to live in an age of almost constant and instant connectivity. However, we must remember that connection is not about communication alone. It is people coming together to collaborate and support each other. It is meeting and knowing the person behind the computer screen.
When weighing whether or not to meet in person, remember that your people are your most valuable resource. We can never lose sight of the fact that they are why we do what we do.
Judy Zehnder Keller is president of the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Convention Center in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Nestled along the Cass River in one of Michigan’s top tourist locations – Frankenmuth – the Lodge has 360 European-themed guest rooms, including whirlpool and family suites, four indoor pools, three whirlpools, two water slides, a miniature golf course, two gift shops, two lounges and two restaurants — all under one roof. In addition to being president of the lodge, Judy is also president of the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus and the Frankenmuth Gift Shop. She is recognized statewide for her leadership in promoting tourism in Michigan.