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How to use social media to meet your colleagues more effectively?

The talent source

Using social media to your advantage!

Some people will tell you the solution is not to allow smartphones in the meeting room. Where others will say: ‘Don’t spend any time on subjects which are not on the agenda’. Both ideas are not the ideal situation, in my opinion. I think you can use social media to your advantage, to make a meeting more effective instead of frustrating.

Every one of your employees or colleagues likes to discuss/communicate differently. Some like to jump right in to a heavy discussion where others like to think about the subject a bit first. Also, not everybody uses applications on their phone some people still mainly use it to call or rather even meet in person.

Therefore, the trick is to find a way to communicate in an organized and effective way without entirely getting rid of spontaneous creativity. For example, what if I have a great idea the day before the meeting? Should I send an email to everybody? Please no! People get enough emails as it is; besides emailing is not really the best way to consult with each other.

Talk about it online?

The solution, in my opinion, is an online consultation toll like Slack, Trello, Basecamp or Asana. In Slack you introduce the idea on a chat channel with relatively many colleagues. Those who find it interesting can then join in a separate ‘Thread’. People who like to discuss can have a conversation online and people who like to think about the idea before they respond, can take their time.

During the next meeting you can use the people from the “Thread’ as your helpline. That way that one colleague, that had a great idea, doesn’t have to join the whole meeting but can be stand-by online if someone happens to ask questions you don’t know the answer to. Make sure you discuss this helpline before you start the meeting though, so everybody knows what you are doing on your phone.

In Trello, Basecamp and Asana it’s possible to consult a bit more structured because it’s a project management tool. The advantage is that you can define the subjects better and possibly attach tasks to them. The disadvantage is that the discussion is a little less spontaneous and you will receive less input from people outside your team.

If the idea or subject is suitable, you can even share it on external social media channels. On Twitter you can come to the point and ask people their opinion. Do you have a large amount of followers on your platform? Then you can quickly get new input for an idea with a poll.  Also, you can use the search function of social media to find out if your idea is as original as your think it is.

Social media also helps with getting everybody more comfortable. The first offline meeting can be a bit easier after chatting online for a while. You know who is who and how everyone communicates. Of course a majority of the employees has to use the social media channel in order for this to work. However, when this is the case, it’s a great instrument to use for both official and unofficial talks and discussions.

Finally, there is one important thing you must remember. Online communication gives fewer nuances to a conversation and stuff can sound blunt without you even noticing it. Therefore, it may not be the best idea to continue a conversation online if there was a heated discussion during the meeting.  Also, always make sure that you separate important announcements from less relevant matters. Even if it’s just something as simple as two different WhatsApp group chats.

Do you want to read more about ways to create a more employee friendly work environment? Check the previous blog about workplace trends in 2018.

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