#Office Survival

Skip Level Meeting: Stress-free Guide

By 09/10/2019 No Comments

Skip-level meetings are vital for big companies. But smaller businesses can profit from them as well. These meetings are the best way to solve serious problems in the most effective way. It is also one of the most stressful types of meetings due to multiple reasons such as the difficulty of communication and different vision of the problem from different levels of seniority within the company. Before organizing this kind of meeting, you need to go through some preparation steps and get a general idea of how to conduct them.

Skip Level Meetings: Winning Strategy

Meetings in which there is a gap of one or more hierarchy levels between the managers and other staff are called skip-level meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to let managers know their team members better, build trust, and understand the employees’ problems.

It is a great opportunity to talk with top managers and directors who run the organization for attendees from lower ranks within the company. These meetings present a unique opportunity to make a name for yourself, get noticed, and maybe get a promotion. This fact alone is enough to emphasize the importance of skip-level meetings. On the other hand, such sessions provoke more stress because attendees have to communicate with high-ranked professionals.

To get better results from a skip level meeting, do thorough preparations. Have a look at this to-do list:

  1. Prepare information on key topics that your leaders plan to discuss. Be proactive, offer to take care of the action items, for example. Or write a meeting summary to submit to the management after the meeting. These tasks are easy to execute with yoyomeeting.
  2. Ask your colleagues as well as the head of your department about their experience with this kind of meetings. They might share a few valuable tips.
  3. Write down a list of questions to ask in a skip-level meeting.
  4. Analyze and prioritize topics and questions before the meeting – you might not have enough time to discuss everything within the given time limit.
  5. Understand and manage possible risks. A skip level meeting can go both ways. As an employee do not try to actively “sell” yourself, and as a director, do not initiate a public beating of mid-managers, even in cases if they deserve it.

Skip Level Meeting Questions

Sometimes you cannot prepare properly for a skip level meeting due to various reasons. For example, you got a last-minute invitation, or you were too busy with an ongoing project. On the other hand, the stress might overwhelm you at any time and wreck your preparations. Luckily, there is always a shortcut. You will find some effective skip level meeting questions in this article. For a manager, the skip level questions are a good tool to build trust with the employees and help the people in your team will feel more relaxed and open.

Over time you will build your patterns based on the skip level meeting questions. The habit will make skip-level meetings more effective and fruitful both for management and employees.

Skip Level Meeting Agenda

A meeting without an agenda is ineffective. Skip-level meetings are not an exception to the rule. It would be hard to formulate a universal set of rules to follow when writing a skip level meeting agenda. You need to take into account numerous variables, including the difference in mindsets of executives and employees, the gap between their rank in the company, etc.

Firstly, be sure you get the purpose of the meeting right. Rarely executives and employees can talk with each other on par. A few correct questions would be enough to see whether your messages are perceived the way you expect, or there are some issues hidden from your eyes. The 1-on-1 format is the best for the job because it makes both sides feel comfortable.

Managers should ensure employees that their conversation will remain anonymous, and nothing will be used against them. This guarantee will ensure that the employees will be able to speak their mind. A less trustful approach may wreck the results of a skip level meeting. The management won’t be able to get real thoughts and comments from their staff.

Planning skip-level meetings in detail from the ice breaker to the conclusions will help you drastically improve their efficiency. Planning how you will answer the usual questions, how you will lead the conversation, which points you will discuss, and which you will leave out. Whatever you do, keep your focus on the specific areas that will assure the biggest positive impact on the company and your team. Even in cases when your team member talks too much, let them express themselves but keep them within the target topic.

If you have a problem putting together the items for the skip level meeting agenda, consider adding the following items to spark the conversation:

  • So far, what was the most difficult topic to comprehend – is it related to the strategy or day-to-day goals?
  • What goals have you accomplished in the past few years (months) and what you’re planning to achieve in the next 6 (12) months?
  • What makes you happy at work in your current role? Would you like to improve something?
  • Name one thing to start/stop doing (as an organization) and one thing we should continue doing?

Final Advice

Skip-level meetings provide deep firm-related insights for the management of different levels. These meetings can be super time-consuming due to tons of information to analyze and organize. To make this process easier, consider giving yoyomeeting a try. It is a robust Office 365 add-in with flexible settings and a wide array of tools to work with before, during, and after all kinds of meetings. With yoyomeeting, top managers, directors, and team members in every department of the company on every level can easily plan, run, and follow up on meetings. Start using yoyomeeting for free now!